Pep expects ‘economic situation’ to halt Man City striker signing

Pep Guardiola does not expect Man City to sign a new striker during the January transfer window due to the “economic situation”.

Guardiola acknowledged his side are still failing to fire in front of goal after Saturday’s 1-0 win at Southampton.

Gabriel Jesus could return to contention for Tuesday night’s Carabao Cup quarter-final at Arsenal, but Sergio Aguero’s fitness struggles continue.

When asked if a new signing was a possibility, Guardiola said: “No I don’t think so because the economic situation around world is what it is.

“All the clubs struggle – we are not an exception.”

Jesus missed Saturday’s win, which lifted City up to seventh in the Premier League table, after taking a knock to the face during training on Friday.

Aguero, recently recovered from a knee problem, returned after illness as a substitute in last week’s home draw against West Brom, but did not feature at St Mary’s due to an undisclosed issue.

Man City have scored only twice in their last three league games and Guardiola admitted it will be difficult to close the eight-point gap between his side and leaders Liverpool given their current form in front of goal.

“I don’t know,” he said. “We’re struggling, our momentum up front isn’t good.

“We are creating clear chances that we cannot score and when this happens we are always going to suffer.

“That’s why I’m not able to say how we will be this season. Game by game is the only thing I can do and now we go to London to play Arsenal in the Carabao Cup.”

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Raheem Sterling turned home Kevin De Bruyne’s 16th-minute cross at Southampton, but Man City spurned several second-half chances.

“Our position is we’re trying to win games, to be up there as quick as possible and (to be) as close as possible to the top of the league,” Guardiola said.

“But the reality is that our momentum up front isn’t good. To close the game out, we couldn’t do it and that’s why we are continuing to struggle I think this season, until we break this situation to score goals.”

Defensively however, City have been water-tight, keeping seven clean sheets in their last eight games in all competitions and after Saturday’s victory Guardiola paid tribute to defenders Ruben Dias and John Stones.

Guardiola added: “It’s incredible – that is how we can still be there, knocking on the door of teams above us. We need it to be stable and maybe one day players will be fresh to score the goals.”

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