Seemingly in need of striker that could provide something different until the end of the season, Alvarez seemed like a logical fit. He would allow the Citizens the ability to change the complexions of a match in novel ways, offering a pace and power in behind that contrasts City's current false nine, strikerless system. The small fee for a man so clearly potent in front of goal continues to be seen as an absolute bargain, and a move that should benefit City in the long-run. Or, so it seemed.
Following its popular use for Vicente del Bosque's Spain at Euro 2012, the role of the false nine has continued to evolve in the modern era of the Premier League, accompanied by a shift in mannerisms, behaviors, and positional patterns of strikers on a football pitch. Pep Guardiola's Manchester City and Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool have been two of the dominating forces in world football since the mid-2010s, and both have operated throughout that time without a recognized out-and-out goal-scoring striker. For any possession-based team attempting to emulate Klopp and Guardiola, deploying a false nine presents a unique and innovative way of breaking the opposition down, and reaching new levels of performance. Some tactical experts have suggested that in the future we may see a formation without a striker at all, but truthfully, we may already be there.