Pep Guardiola has revealed how he questioned whether he had a squad capable of challenging for trophies this season after failing to land Harry Kane last summer.
Guardiola and Manchester City were coy at the time about their pursuit of Kane, even if the Spurs frontman was more candid about his desire to move away from North London.
But speaking on the eve of welcoming Kane and Spurs to the Etihad Stadium on Saturday, Guardiola opened up on the summer saga that never was.
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"Now you can say 'Harry Kane didn’t come and everything is going well' but at the time I didn’t know it," said Guardiola.
"We tried but Tottenham were clear that it was not going to happen.
"When that happens two, three, four times, it’s over.
"After that we saw the squad and we were not sure. We then lost at Spurs and against Leicester in the Community Shield.
"I never was disappointed in what the club cannot do in the transfer market. I’ve never created a fire here. When we have some talks and we cannot agree, we do it internally."
Six months later, it looks like Kane's chance of working under Guardiola is gone, given the Citizens' recruit of young forward Julian Alvarez from River Plate - someone who is already impressing Guardiola.
"The club is always working, it never stops," Guardiola added. "If five players say they want to leave, we have to be ready.
"Julian scored three goals in the last game for River Plate and Man City made an incredible deal because he is a player who moves really well," Guardiola said of the 22-year-old, who will move to England in the summer.
"The goals he scores are like Jamie Vardy’s. We’ll see what happens in the future."
Guardiola also declared his delight at the form of his existing forwards who are so successfully sharing his side's goalscoring burden, particularly Raheem Sterling.
The City boss said: "With the players we have, we have to adapt. Raheem’s goals are a consequence of his confidence. I am very glad that he is back to his best."
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