Liam Delap broke into the Manchester City first team set-up in 2020 after an impressive spell in the under-23’s, where he scored 24 goals in 22 appearances
Young striker Liam Delap will remain at Manchester City this season regardless of whether Harry Kane signs from Tottenham Hotspur, Pep Guardiola has decided.
The 18-year-old signed a new contract last Friday that will see him stay at the Etihad Stadium until 2026.
Delap progressed rapidly through the City ranks since his arrival in June 2019, leading to Guardiola handing him his first-team debut in September 2020 in a Carabao Cup clash against Bournemouth. He marked the memorable day with a goal as well.
The Englishman is currently nursing a foot injury that kept him sidelined for the entirety of pre-season as well as the first two games of the Premier League season, though he is making good progress on his road to recovery.
When he returns to fitness, many thought that Delap might be sent out on loan due to the Cityzens’ interest in wantaway striker Kane, but Guardiola has said that that is not the case.
“He’s going to train with us if a striker comes or doesn’t come, he’s going to train with us all the season,” he said.
“Him and Cole Palmer, [James] McAtee, [Luke] Mbete, Romeo Lavia. There are five or six players who will be with us the whole season, the same way we have done with Tommy Doyle – who is looking forward to being on loan – like Phil [Foden] when he arrived and started to play with us, he played with the second team then played with us.”
The decision could suggest that Guardiola is reluctant to fork out the rumoured £160m required to persuade Spurs’ Daniel Levy to let Kane leave, but that is not the case.
The Spanish manager has said that he is keeping the young players with the first team because he believes it will improve them more than playing with the academy.
“It’s the best way to help their development because the problem in the academies today here in England, the distance between the first team competition in the Premier League and the competition they play is too big,” Guardiola said.
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“It’s really big and it’s difficult to promote them from here. That’s the best way with the players we believe have potential.”
Since club legend Sergio Aguero departed in May, it has become common knowledge that City need and want a striker to help them win back-to-back titles as well as the Champions League.
Currently, their best option appears to be Gabriel Jesus, but Guardiola’s constant offers to Spurs suggest that Guardiola doesn’t believe that the Brazilian is the man that can help them achieve their goals.
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They also have versatile wingers in the form of Raheem Sterling, Ferran Torres, Riyad Mahrez, Jack Grealish and Bernardo Silva that have all played as makeshift strikers, though none provide the presence of an out and out number nine.
Last Sunday, Kane returned to the matchday squad for the first time since his extended holiday antics over the summer.
Manager Nuno Espirito Santo brought him off of the bench in the 72nd minute against Wolves to help secure a 1-0 victory over his former club.