City's lack of forward thinking could set them back: Richard Buxton
Failure to sign a striker before the window closes could prove significant
Until now, Pep Guardiola could never be accused of leaving anything to chance.
Chronic overthinking has proven symptomatic of the Manchester City manager's meticulous attention to detail, yet he rarely veered into any territory that can be classified as a gamble.
But the English Premier League champions are in danger of being exposed by their lack of forward planning, after the Harry Kane saga reached an unsatisfactory conclusion.
Confirmation that Kane will remain with Tottenham Hotspur this season leaves both player and suitor in a bind just four days before the summer transfer window closes.
Lilywhites chairman Daniel Levy has decided to forego another big payday while the striker has seen his hopes of moving to a club capable of matching his ambitions dashed.
Kane should have been watching the Champions League draw this morning (Singapore time), dreaming of City's Group A ties with Paris Saint-Germain.
Instead, he was preparing to overturn the deficit in Spurs' Europa Conference League qualifier.
Having refused to meet Spurs' £150 million (S$278.6m) valuation that would likely have seen them sign the England captain, City will need to find a way to cope.
Guardiola's false No. 9 system helped him adjust to life without Sergio Aguero. They clinched a third EPL title in four seasons and reached the Champions League final without needing a definitive marksman.
Repeating the trick in an increasingly competitive field, however, does not bode well for City with their rivals all boasting well-stocked attacks.
Chelsea's £97.5m re-signing of Romelu Lukaku makes them firm favourites to retain the trophy they won by edging out City almost three months ago.
Thomas Tuchel's side will also fancy their chances of wresting the EPL title away from the Etihad Stadium as much as Liverpool, still with the unrelenting firepower of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino, who have been supplemented by Diogo Jota's potency.
Across town, Manchester United have added one-time City apprentice Jadon Sancho to an already talented attack.
Solving a problem like Aguero has seen unlikely solutions come to the fore with an evergreen Cristiano Ronaldo touted as a fallback option, despite Guardiola's reservations.
Ironically, it was the Argentinian's heroics on the final day of 2011/12 that forced United to entertain a short-term fix of their own to snatch the title back from City a year later.
AGE NOT A BARRIER
Age mattered little to Sir Alex Ferguson when he lured Robin van Persie from Arsenal weeks after the Red Devils surrendered their EPL crown to the "noisy neighbours".
At 29, the Dutchman's limited shelf life served a purpose by ensuring that Old Trafford's grandmaster bowed out on the high he craved.
Guardiola faces a similar predicament following the admission that he will end a seven-year stint with City - a personal record - in 2023.
If he is to finish on his own terms, he needs to formulate a clear back-up plan, and fast, or risk the Etihad's fear of failure being writ large in this campaign.
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