Guardiola confirms Kane interest

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August 6, 2021
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    Harry KaneHarry Kane has yet to win a major trophy in his career

    Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has confirmed the club's interest in Tottenham striker Harry Kane but says Lionel Messi is "not in our thoughts".

    City want to add Kane, 28, to England team-mate Jack Grealish, who joined on Thursday in a £100m British record move from Aston Villa.

    But they are thought to not be willing to meet Spurs' £160m valuation.

    "We are interested in him but if Spurs don't want to negotiate then there is nothing more to say," said Guardiola.

    "If they want to, we will try, that is all.

    "He's a player for Tottenham and if they don't want to negotiate then it's finished. If they are open to negotiation, Manchester City and all the clubs in the world want to try to sign him.

    "But it depends on Tottenham. Jack had a release clause so that was different."

    England captain Kane – who has scored 221 goals for Spurs and won the Premier League Golden Boot three times – did not turn up for training this week as he tries to engineer a move away.

    City have been frequently linked to Messi, who Guardiola worked with at Barcelona and has previously called the greatest player of all time.

    Barcelona announced on Thursday that the 34-year-old, their all-time top scorer, is leaving the club because they cannot afford to keep him under La Liga financial fair play rules.

    Hours later City confirmed the £100m signing of Aston Villa midfielder Grealish, 25, who will wear the number 10 jersey – the number Messi wears at Barca.

    "It was a surprise for everyone, including me," said Guardiola.

    Grealish is an 'incredible talent' – Guardiola

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    "When you have 487m euros losses in one year, the decision is made, unfortunately. As a supporter I'd love for him to have finished there but it's not sustainable.

    "I have incredible gratitude for the most extraordinary player I ever saw in my life, for the titles, for what he did for me, to help me to go to Munich and England.

    "Thank you so much for bringing Barca to another level, for dominating the world for a decade with his mates, and I wish him the best for the last years of his career.

    "We spent on Jack Grealish and he will wear number 10 because we are convinced about him and thought Leo would stay. Now Leo is not in our thoughts."

    Guardiola also announced that Bernardo Silva is one of several players who want to leave City this summer.

    The 26-year-old Portugal midfielder has scored 35 times in 201 appearances for City since a 2017 move from Monaco.

    "He's our player, not just Bernardo, there are two or three, four players who want to leave," Guardiola said.

    "They are our players and under contract and when they bring an offer we are open to discuss it. But it depends on them. Otherwise they stay here."

    'Grealish can get to another level with us'

    Guardiola also spoke about the Premier League's first £100m signing in Grealish, who could make his debut in Saturday's Community Shield match against Leicester City at Wembley.

    Grealish made 213 appearances for Villa, the club he joined as a six-year old, scoring 32 goals.

    "He can play up front, mainly on the left side area but as a winger, attacking midfielder, striker – many positions with his quality," said Guardiola.

    "No doubts he'll help the way we play, he desires to become a top international player, better than he is.

    "He arrives with incredible positive things and is ready to settle into the team. He has the best years of his career. He made an exceptional contribution at Villa. He did amazingly there and can get to another level with us.

    "When we could spend this, it's a lot, it's because in the last 13 or 14 months we sold young players for £60m and can afford £100m, otherwise it's not possible.

    "That's why for that difference, we spent on him. He's 25 and can play the next six, seven years here and we believe we've an incredible talent, skills and mentality."

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