City Xtra Morning Round-Up – 3/5/19

Sam Lee on Benjamin Mendy

News that City will not be pursuing a new option for the often injured and out-of-favor Benjamin Mendy came as somewhat surprise news yesterday, but today Goal’s Sam Lee has clarified that the lack of interest in a new left back isn’t out of faith in Mendy, but rather more pressing needs for their transfer budget.

As the club looks at four or five potential departures, they’re likely looking to use their war chest wisely. We all know that a defensive midfielder is the priority, with Rodri of Atletico Madrid seemingly the lead option, but should Nicolas Otamendi leave, that would leave a hole in central defense, and it may be that the money ear-marked for a Mendy replacement will have to be utilised there instead. 

Speaking of Fullbacks and the Transfer Market…

Aaron Wan-Bissaka, the young English star at right back and a man whose name is so glorious it should never be said in anything but the full, has rubbished reports that he may be headed for an imminent exit from Crystal Palace by telling The Evening Standard, “I am with Crystal Palace at the moment. That is where my contract is and that is where I will be next season.

“I have got three years left on my contract. It says I am going to be there, so that is all I can focus on now.” 

While nothing is ever definitive, it certainly seems that the emerging talent is committed to plying his talents for at least one more season at Selhurst Park. Good on him. 

Speaking of Fullbacks Staying With Their Club…

It would appear that City left back Oleksandr Zinchenko is nearing a resolution on his contract situation, with word being that he’s prepared to put pen to paper on an extension that will keep him with the club for the foreseeable future.

Good on him.

The young Ukrainian lad we’ve all come to love and admire was nearly sold to Wolves this past summer, only to put the brakes on the move, declaring that he wanted to stay and fight for a spot on a team that seemed to have no clear spot for him. The youngster was taking a pretty big gamble on what likely would’ve been a pay raise and an easier path to playing time, and my oh my, how it’s paid off, first figuratively, and now it would appear, quite literally.

Fast forward to today and he’s Guardiola’s preferred option at left back over £50m injury risk Mendy and a bolt-on starter for the Ukrainian national team who’ve used him extensively in defensive midfield.

What a difference nine months makes.

Otamendi Headed to Madrid?

Yesterday morning brought rumors that Nicolás Otamendi could be headed to Valencia this summer, so it’s only natural that the evening brought rumors from Spanish publication AS that he could be headed to Atletico Madrid.

This rumor actually makes some sense as Atletico will have a couple of considerable holes to fill in the heart of their defence as Uruguayan club legend Diego Godín is set to leave in the summer while young star Spanish centerback Lucas Hernandez will be joining Bayern. Otamendi enjoyed enormous success in Spain before making his big money move to City during the summer of 2015. Four years, and potentially (hopefully) two Premier League titles later, he could be headed back.

One thing to keep an eye on as the suitors pile up – I now count no fewer than four clubs having been linked – is how it’ll affect negotiations. Will more teams jumping into the fray help City to recoup a few million pounds more? Could some of that €80m transfer fee that Bayern paid for Lucas end up in Manchester City’s coffers? Only time will tell.

Should such a move come to fruition, the club will likely look to sign a replacement from outside the system, though it would be interesting to see if they’d be willing to gamble on eighteen year-old Eric García, who’s highly rated by Guardiola.

You can follow the author on Twitter here: @EttingerCorey

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