Manchester City saw four separate bids for Harry Kane turned down by Tottenham during the summer transfer window last year, Pep Guardiola has revealed, with the Spaniard admitting he did not know if his side would pay for their failure to sign the England captain.
Striker Kane was heavily linked with a move to the Premier League champions across a busy off-season that saw him skipper the Three Lions to a first major tournament final since 1966 at Euro 2020.
Yet Spurs were adamant that they would not sell despite City's interest and the foward's desire to make a move for Champions League football - and now Guardiola has revealed just how persistent the Citizens' overtures were, as well as his concerns over City's subsequent early term form.
What has been said?
"Now you can say, 'Harry Kane didn’t come and everything is going well' but at the time I didn’t know it," Guardiola acknowledged ahead of his side's clash with Spurs this weekend. "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."
Guardiola marvels at round-the-clock action
Even without Kane's capture, Guardiola stressed that he remains immensely satisfied with the transfer operation in place at the Etihad Stadium, highlighting the capture of Julian Alvarez as one such example.
"The club is always working, it never stops," he 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. He scores are like Jamie Vardy. We’ll see what happens in the future."
Guardiola further paid tribute to his forward options in lieu of a traditional number nine, in particular Kane's England team-mate Raheem Sterling, adding: "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."
The bigger picture
Amid the rumbling saga over his Tottenham future, Kane's form took a serious dip at the start of the season and the striker's fluctuating form has often been matched by that of his side, who are on their second manager of the campaign already.
City conversely have not wanted for a striker of his kind by and large, with the brute force of their front three often battering opposition into submission under Guardiola's shrewd watch.
Their meeting looks set to be a curious contest this week, particularly as Antonio Conte's side look to reverse a three-game losing streak in the top-flight.