Manchester City need a top number nine like Erling Haaland if they are to compete with the best teams in Europe, according to Shaun Wright-Phillips.
City and Sergio Aguero announced this week that the star striker will be leaving the club after 10 years when his contract expires at the end of the season.
Pep Guardiola’s team are among many of the continent’s leading sides who have been linked with a transfer pursuit of Borussia Dortmund sensation Haaland.
Aguero has only made five City starts in all competitions this season due to injuries, so they have often deployed a false nine rather than a recognised striker like the Argentina forward or Gabriel Jesus.
Wright-Phillips – who had two spells with City totalling nine seasons – has been impressed by how City have adapted but feels a focal point is still needed in the biggest matches.
“They have to look for a direct replacement,” Wright-Phillips told Stats Perform News.
“If you’re going to have big team like that without a so-called number nine, it would be strange to a lot of people in the world.
“You can play with a false nine against a lot of teams, but say you’re playing Real Madrid – Sergio Ramos, he’ll be happy not to have striker in front of him.
“Then he can see everything, so there’s certain teams in the world that know how to deal with that pretty easily.
“To have a number nine up there, it gives them a headache, something to think about. And they have to be on their A-game all the time as well.”