TWO first-team Man City players have been told they can leave, as Pep Guardiola prioritises ‘injection of leadership’

According to reports from the Athletic, a source close to the Manchester City coaching staff has revealed that both John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi will be moved on to make way for a marquee central defender this summer.

That defender is most likely to be Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly, who the staff trust will bring an ‘injection of leadership’ and send a statement of intent to the rest of the Premier League. While the two clubs are still some way apart in their valuations of the player, there is hope that a deal can be completed before the beginning of the season.

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Manchester City’s four centre-backs next season will be Kalidou Koulibaly [or an alternative should the deal collapse], Aymeric Laporte, Nathan Ake, and Eric Garcia, although with the latter looking to be on his way out of the club, Fernandinho could take up the fourth choice spot in central defence.

It is believed that if Manchester City are forced into the sale of Eric Garcia by Barcelona this summer, Guardiola’s men will not enter the market for a replacement, and will still persist with their plans to let both John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi leave.

Arsenal, West Ham and Chelsea have been linked with a £20m move for Stones, while Otamendi could reunite with former City manager Manuel Pellegrini at Real Betis.

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