Pep Guardiola wants a complete makeover of the Man City defence as he eyes the two hottest defensive prospects in Europe.
According to a report in the Manchester Evening News, incoming Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola is interested in investing heavily in defence as he plans to sign both Everton youngster John Stones and Athletic Bilbao’s Aymeric Laporte. It will be a very ambitious move if the 45-year-old Spaniard were to land both defenders who are widely regarded as two of the best rising talents in Europe.
However, this double swoop to completely revamp the Manchester City defence is going to be expensive as the total cost for signing these two central defenders is estimated to be a staggering £84m. Everton have put a price tag of £45m on John Stones and are expected to be very rigid with their assessment. Last season, Chelsea was denied a chance to sign Stones, after their rigorous pursuit that was ultimately unsuccessful because the two clubs couldn’t agree on a transfer amount. Athletic Bilbao, on the other hand, have lesser control over any possible move for Laporte as he has a £39m release-clause.
In the past few seasons, Manchester City have already paid hefty sums for signing Eliaquim Mangala in 2014 and Nicolas Otamendi in 2015 (£28m and £32m respectively). Many critics might question the reckless spending which would end up City having spent close to £150m in 3 seasons only for central defenders. It would also be interesting to note what impact all these transfers, if they were to go through, would have on the Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations with Manchester City. The club has already been caught up in FFP regulations in the past and would not want any sort of transfer sanctions imposed on them.
The footballing impact of Stones and Laporte
Keeping the financial aspect of the deal aside, Manchester City would benefit massively from signing these two youngsters who have a bright future ahead of them. There have been calls amongst Citizens for buying new defenders after the fans saw two of their senior central defenders, Kompany and Demichelis, who are both on the wrong side of 30, either ailing from injury or going on a general decline. It is important though, given the fact that Stones and Laporte are young, the duo must be given a season to establish themselves in the new Guardiola setup at Manchester City before expecting consistent performances.