It’s now coming up to two months since the world of football was put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Before the season was postponed indefinitely, talk of a summer rebuild for Manchester City was starting to ramp up. When football is resumed, in whatever form we have it, it looks to be a very busy upcoming transfer window for Pep Guardiola and the board.
With the club’s future hanging in the balance, for now all we can do is wait and speculate. So speculate we will. Let’s take a look at the possible changes that may occur within the Manchester City squad…
The Argentine defender looked to be on his way out of the club last summer, however, with the departure of club captain Vincent Kompany and City’s inability to replace him adequately, Otamendi agreed to stay at the Etihad for another year. After an inconsistent 2019/20 season so far, ‘the General’ is likely leave at the end of the season.
The day that arguably the best player in the club’s history leaves is never an easy day to stomach. After ten seasons with Manchester City, David Silva is set to return to his home country, or at least that’s what many can expect his decision to be upon the expiry of his contract. With 11 matches still left to play this season, Silva has recorded a tally of 57 goals and 90 assists in 301 Premier League appearances.
David Silva: “I want it to be this way, at a great level. The club has changed a lot. Every year, the team and the club have improved. That’s why lasting here for a long time and playing regularly is really difficult. For that reason, I’m very pleased for what I have achieved during my time here.”
After being Pep Guardiola’s first signing at the club, Gundogan has had a topsy-turvy career at Manchester City. Not only have injury problems held him back in his first couple of seasons, the German has also never truly found a consistent role in the squad. At times he has played as the number six, or “pivot”, which tends to be the most crucial position in a Guardiola system. Other times, he has played more advanced, but neither role has seemed to be a permanent home for the 29-year-old.
It is never easy signing for a club and being immediately labeled the “heir to the throne” of one of the all-time greatest goal scorers in the history of English football. Fair or not, that was the label that Gabriel Jesus was given upon his arrival at Manchester City.
In the early stages of his career at City, the Brazilian looked to have played the aforementioned scoring king out of a place in the squad. However, with an inconsistent goal tally in the following seasons, the club may look elsewhere to replace the eventual Aguero sized-hole in the squad. Juventus are have long been reportedly interested in the young forward, and if offered enough money, City officials may be keen to sell.
When Manchester City bought the English centre-back from Everton in 2016, the £47.5m fee made him the second-most expensive defender in the world. In the seasons that followed, Stones showed small snippets of improvement but never fully blossomed into the shut down, “Rolls Royce” defender that he was made out to be.
Injury problems have also taken a toll on John Stones’ City career. With a big defensive overhaul needed, the England international may be a player that could be sacrificed if the club can find a suitable destination for him, and if they receive a suitable fee. Stones himself may also be interested in a departure in search of some much-needed game time to improve his chances of making Gareth Southgate’s European Championship team.
In recent days, Newcastle have been reported to have taken an interest in Stones, with a major takeover on the verge of completion and the player himself being shortlisted by potential new manager Rafael Benitez.
In what has been the longest transfer saga the club has been through in a long time, the Leroy Sane x Bayern Munich link isn’t showing signs of going away any time soon. Bayern have noticeably been very vocal in their desire to sign the talented German winger.
A knee injury very early on in the campaign derailed their initial attempt last summer, however with his contract running down and a possible personal desire to return to his home country, Leroy Sane could be out the door as soon as the window re-opens in the summer.
So before you undoubtedly question some of the transfer values below, it might be worth mentioning that these were all taken from Transfermarkt. Blame them, not us on this one…
Kalidou Koulibaly – £60M
The highly-rated Senegalese centre-back has been linked with a move away from Napoli for some time now. Koulibaly has been selected for the Serie A Team of the Year in four of his five full seasons in Naples.
The most recent reports are that Manchester City as well as PSG are interested in the players’ services, with the Ligue 1 side being his preferred destination. Similar claims also suggested that City would be willing to spend ‘a pretty penny‘ for the defender, although that seems like a complete non-story when you’re referring to one of the most in-demand players in Italian football at this present moment.
With Kalidou Koulibaly keen to leave Napoli, and should the transfer talk with Paris fall through, Manchester City may be a very realistic second choice.
Milan Skriniar – £70M
The Inter Milan centre-half has been on Manchester City’s radar ever since the departure of Vincent Kompany. At 25-years-old, Skriniar seems to be the perfect age for Pep Guardiola to mould him into a world class central defender to partner Aymeric Laporte long-term.
The Slovakian has been key in an Inter side who look poised to challenge Juventus for this seasons league title. Manchester City did reportedly have an initial bid of £60 million rejected in January, with Inter claimed to be asking for around £85 million. City have however stated that they will launch another bid in the upcoming summer window.
Ruben Dias – £40M
As the skills required by defenders have changed over the past half a decade or so, with more teams choosing to play out from the back, ball-playing centre-halves are highly coveted by many managers around the world.
22-year-old Benfica centre-back Ruben Dias has the technical ability and stout defensive ability to have him linked to any big European club you can name. With a defensive rebuild underway at Manchester City, the need for defensive stability as well as a centre-half who can play the ball makes Dias a perfect candidate.
Lucas Digne – £30M
Full-backs are arguably one of the most important positions in Pep Guardiola’s system, transitioning from providing attacking width, and transitioning to defensive solidity when defending the counter-attack.
In the summer of 2017, Manchester City spent £125 million on three full-backs. Danilo has since moved on and Benjamin Mendy has spent nearly 75% of his City career in the medical room. 26-year-old Everton left-back, Lucas Digne is the speedy, technically sound full-back Pep Guardiola requires. Digne has cemented himself as the starter at Everton and has had consistent performances in the league to land himself on the radar of ‘bigger clubs‘.
Lautaro Martinez – £80M
With Sergio Aguero’s contract running down and the possible exits of Gabriel Jesus and Leroy Sane, Manchester City will most likely be in need of attacking reinforcements. The Inter Milan striker has emerged this season as one of the stand-out forwards in Europe, registering a tally of 16 goals in 30 appearances so far this season.
Martinez is not only built like Sergio Aguero, but plays in the same manner – making very intelligent runs into the box, and having the ability to finish when picked out.
That being said, if recent reports from Italy and Spain are anything to go by, Manchester City’s hunt for a suitable successor to Sergio Aguero or a true competitor for Gabriel Jesus will have to go on a little while longer, with the Argentine forward almost certainly set to join Barcelona this summer.
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