Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola says the club “definitely” need to sign a striker despite being top of the Premier League while rarely picking anyone in a traditional striker’s role.
City have played without a recognised striker for most of the season, having lost Sergio Aguero in the summer.
The club also failed in an attempt to sign Tottenham’s Harry Kane.
“I think the club needs a striker, definitely,” said Guardiola, speaking before Sunday’s Manchester derby.
“You say we play fantastically well without a striker because we are winning. When we are not winning, you say we need a striker.”
The club’s all-time top scorer Aguero, who scored 260 goals in all competitions for City, left to join Barcelona on a free transfer in July 2021.
Gabriel Jesus, who plays up front for Brazil, has been used more often as a winger by Guardiola this season.
Spain striker Ferran Torres played several games as a centre-forward earlier in the campaign, scoring twice against Arsenal in August, before signing for Barcelona in January.
Last month, Guardiola revealed that Spurs rejected four bids for Kane last summer, with City eventually signing his England team-mate Jack Grealish for a British record £100m instead.
City also bought Argentina international forward Julian Alvarez in January before loaning him immediately back to River Plate – the 22-year-old has scored 39 times in 100 club appearances.
And they also came close to signing Cristiano Ronaldo before his switch to rivals Manchester United who they face on Sunday (kick-off 1630 GMT).
The absence of a traditional centre-forward has led to City’s Spanish manager using the likes of Phil Foden, Raheem Sterling and Grealish to fill the role.
Despite this perceived weakness, only Liverpool have scored more than City’s 64 league goals in 27 games this season.
Sterling is the club’s top scorer in the Premier League with 10 goals.
City sit three points ahead of Liverpool, before facing United at Etihad Stadium looking for a first home win over their bitter rivals in four games.
Still referring to comments from the press, Guardiola added: “[You say] ‘how do these guys play without a striker? In the Premier League you have to play with a striker’.
“So, we need a striker, I think the club is going to try.”
In demand Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Braut Haaland, 21, has been strongly linked with City and could be one target in the summer.