Manchester City transfer window: Full-back is Pep Guardiola’s priority

It’s almost that time again… the January transfer window! It has traditionally been a quiet time for Manchester City, with Pep Guardiola usually advising in advance that the club will not be signing any players, and that has almost always been the case.

But they signed Julian Alvarez this time last year and the value of that deal quickly became apparent, and they also let go of Ferran Torres, showing how they can sign the right player for the right price in the mid- time, they will also let go to the good.

Window costs for the last three months of January

£14.1m, £0, £0

How much is likely to be available this month?

If the right player comes into a position he needs then in theory the money will be there to do it as that is the type of signing he will be happy to make next summer and therefore can move the budget. to make a deal sooner.

But this happens very rarely. City bought Aymeric Laporte in January 2018 for £57million as he prepared to leave Athletic Bilbao 18 months after snubbing a move to the Etihad. Clearly, he is a player considered good enough to not only play for six months, but for years to come.

Generally, those are hard to find. Last winter they agreed a deal for Alvarez but were happy enough to leave him on loan at River Plate until the summer.

So it really has to be the right person, not just at the right time, but for a long time.

Alvarez shone at the World Cup for the Argentine winners after signing for City in January (Image: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Who makes the key signing decisions?

The city usually works in committee, with everyone on the same page, although it doesn’t always happen that way.

Last summer, for example, Guardiola was so concerned about depth at centre-back, that he raised his concerns with sporting director Txiki Begiristain in the final weeks of the window and the club then left and defined targets. In the end, they signed Manuel Akanji because Guardiola pushed him and because the club wanted to give everything for him to sign a new contract, which he eventually did.

There are also rumors that Guardiola prefers to sign Harry Kane in 2021 over the club’s other decision-makers, even if Tottenham Hotspur will ultimately not sell either. The alternative, Erling Haaland, shows how City usually spend their January months: laying the groundwork for big summer deals.

Which position is the priority?

That’s right, he needs to be a full-back, as he has been for several years. Although, while they usually need a left-back, a right-back would also be welcome as City only have one option on each flank: Kyle Walker on the right, Joao Cancelo on the left.

With Walker out a few weeks before the World Cup, the lack of depth was on full display. Sergio Gomez, signed in the summer after City failed to land Marc Cucurella, has not been fully relied on to start many games so a centre-back was used on the right to allow Cancelo to continue on the left.

It’s not the end of the world, as City have been turning left for years and striker last season, but it could be used in response. Whether they do or not is another story.

What are realistic targets?

Well, they signed Gomez and decided to keep the 22-year-old in Manchester instead of loaning him out because after the Cucurella move failed City decided there was no real alternative on the market – especially in the summer window which is ahead. at that time.

Should this change in January? Well, it is, in terms of whether players are closer to the end of their contracts or whether disputes or potential concerns have arisen in the months since then, but the type of options at the top The position City is looking for is probably still off limits. .

Sergio Gomez started playing for Manchester City (Photo: Lewis Storey/Getty Images)

They watched Raphael Guerreiro at Borussia Dortmund and Rayan Ait-Nouri at Wolverhampton Wanderers at the end of the summer, and have been interested in Ben Chilwell and Kieran Tierney in the past, so they could benefit from a move. Cucurella at Chelsea or the change of Oleksandr Zinchenko. to Arsenal unexpectedly.

Who can go out?

It is unlikely that anyone will go there, because the team is not that big. Torres went there in January, but it’s hard to imagine a big name this time around.

Bernardo Silva’s future is still up in the air and City could enjoy a big offer there if it comes sooner rather than later, but the pressure will be high to find a replacement, especially on the deal. Ilkay Gundogan also expires this summer. .

Which World Cup star would be perfect for City…

Argentinian Enzo Fernandez. Surprisingly, in fact, City didn’t sign him from River Plate when they moved for club and team-mate Alvarez. Fernandez seems to have many of the qualities a City midfielder should possess: he can maneuver the ball in tight spaces, he knows how to speed up and slow down a game, he can win the ball, challenge in the air, mobile and has a feel of purpose.

Benfica signed him in the summer and big clubs are already eyeing a transfer that could cost more than £80million. City may have missed him once, but it’s not too late to fix it.

(Top photo, left to right: Raphael Guerreiro, Bernardo Silva and Rayan Ait-Nouri; Getty Images)

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