Is Jack Grealish enough? Where does Man City’s transfer window leave them this season?

Limitations at left-back and striker could be the champions’ downfall in 2021/22.

<p>Jack Grealish. Credit: Getty.</p>

Jack Grealish. Credit: Getty.

Manchester City look set for a quiet end to a turbulent transfer window, one dominated by Jack Grealish and Harry Kane.

The former has, of course, signed and already shows indications that he’s assimilating into this City side.

Yet for Kane, the England captain very much remains a Tottenham Hotspur player, in a failed move that now raises serious questions about the club’s options up front.

Pep Guardiola clearly wanted a striker - he even admitted they tried to sign Kane ahead of the Community Shield, while on Friday claimed Cristiano Ronaldo would ‘decide where he wanted to play’, implying there was certainly some contact between City and the Portuguese attacker.

Pep Guardiola. Credit: Getty.

Admittedly, the form of Ferran Torres will be a welcome boost, but the 21-year-old remains the Blues’ only real striker as the window shudders to a halt.

On Wednesday we wrote about how City’s inability to sign a striker may define the champions’ season, and Guardiola will either have to maximise Torres’s impact or again hone his no-striker system if they are to retain the Premier League title.

But in a window where the likes of Danny Ings and Tammy Abraham were available for relatively low sums, it seems a real miscalculation to move forward with a dearth of centre-forward choices.

Is Grealish enough?

It means Grealish remains City’s sole summer signing. The former Aston Villa man undoubtedly adds quality to an already stacked squad, but whether his inclusion will drastically improve the team is another issue.

Does Grealish offer a significantly better option than Raheem Sterling, Bernardo Silva, Riyad Mahrez and co? Having spent £100m to secure his services, Guardiola seems to think so, and propelling the England international to a level akin to that of Kevin De Bruyne or Bruno Fernandes will again define their fortunes over the coming months.

Despite the concerns, Guardiola has followed up his two previous title triumphs with just a few summer additions.

In 2018, following the 100-point campaign, Mahrez was the only senior recruit and 12 months later the arrivals Rodri and Joao Cancelo marked another limited policy from the club.

Last summer saw a slightly grander outlay as City responded from losing their Premier League crown, yet even the three senior signings of Ruben Dias, Nathan Ake and Torres doesn’t mark a serious turnover.

The point is, Guardiola doesn’t tend to extensively overhaul his squad and history would suggest this more often than not results in success for the former Barcelona coach.

Any other areas of concern?

The striker issue will continue to dominate the agenda into the season, but there may also be a concern over the club’s options at left-back.

Benjamin Mendy is currently unavailable, meaning Guardiola’s only real left-sided defender for now is Oleksandr Zinchenko, although Cancelo often plays in that position.

Zinchenko will head into the season as the club’s main option at left-back. Credit: Getty.

While Ake and Aymeric Laporte can operate in that role, it’s far from their preferred positions, and a lack of options could be a real issue over the course of the season.

It’s what raises even more questions about the Grealish signing, in an area where City are well stocked, yet they remain so light in two key positions.

For that reason, the champions’ transfer window must be viewed as average at best, in a summer where Chelsea, Manchester United and Liverpool have addressed the issues in their respective squads that meant they failed to mount a serious title tilt last term. It seems unlikely the same will occur this time around.