A summer of transformation awaits Manchester City as Pep Guardiola makes his long-awaited move to the Premier League. TheHardTackle discusses the former Barcelona manager’s potential targets in the upcoming transfer window.
As soon as the signing of Pep Guardiola was unveiled, the rumour mills started churning in regard to the players the Spaniard would try to sign for Manchester City. The timing of the announcement of his signing was questionable, as players are susceptible to losing their focus mid-season when they are forced to think about next season and their future prospects. It naturally creates a very unsettled and confused environment in the dressing room.
That was perhaps what contributed to Manchester City’s remarkable dip in the second half of the season, with the Citizens narrowly avoiding the ignominy of dropping out of the top 4.
Persistent defensive woes cost City last season
One would immediately look towards the defence of Man City as a place to start the squad overhaul. With Vincent Kompany suffering from recurring injury problems, he is no longer a defensive option that can be completely relied upon to be fit for an entire season.
To add to that, Martin Demichelis’ lack of pace and advancing age mean that he could be among the first casualties of Guardiola’s reign. Eliaquim Mangala and Nicolas Otamedi were two very costly buys, but have failed to impress or develop an understanding between themselves in the absence of Kompany. The stats have shown a stark difference in City’s defensive record with and without the Belgium international.
Pep Guardiola has targeted French youngster Aymeric Laporte as his first possible signing for the Manchester City defence. The defender from Athletic Bilbao, however, comes with a steep price tag of around £39m. The 21-year-old is considered as one of the best young centre-backs in Europe.
Guardiola has also shown interest in signing Sassuolo defender Sime Vrsaljko, who has represented Croatia 16 times on the international stage. However, Guardiola faces tough competition for the Serie A fullback, as it is believed that Juventus and Napoli have already been tracking him for a while and could be ahead in the race to sign the Croatian.
Overhauling the midfield
Having fallen out of favour once with Pep Guardiola at Barcelona, Yaya Toure will likely be shown the door once again by the Spaniard. There would be few complaints if Yaya Toure were to be sold in the summer as the Ivorian has struggled to maintain any sort of consistency or rhythm to his season.
He was heavily criticized by fans and pundits alike for his abject display against Real Madrid across two legs in a tie that was billed as the biggest ever in European football for Manchester City.
Guardiola has seemingly made some progress in finding the players he would need for his squad at Manchester City, with Ilkay Gundogan believed to be on his way to Manchester according to the Mirror. Despite there being some injury concerns as Gundogan is currently out of action with a dislocated knee, Guardiola has shown faith in the 25-year-old, who could be back in action as early as late August. The transfer fee for Gundogan is believed to be somewhere in the region of £20m.
Another possible signing for Guardiola is German midfield maestro Toni Kroos. As Manchester City have supposedly given up on the hopes of signing Paul Pogba, Kroos emerges as a quality alternative for the City midfield which is in need of fresh blood. Daily Star report that Real Madrid might be willing to listen to offers from clubs for Kroos, which could fund their potential pursuit of Juventus starlet Paul Pogba.