Things aren’t particularly fun over at the Etihad Stadium right now.
Injuries have ravaged Pep Guardiola’s squad so far this season, leaving the Catalan with midfielders at centre back and wingers upfront. He needs reinforcements in January, otherwise, the Sky Blues will be kissing goodbye to their Champions League and FA Cup ambitions, having effectively already conceded their Premier League crown.
City likely won’t catch Liverpool in the league, but they can still enjoy a very successful campaign if they make the right moves this winter. The team needs a touch up rather than a full makeover, and you know they have the money to spend on a mini rebuild…
Here are six players Guardiola could sign next month to help solve some of his problems.
Gianluca Di Marzio (via Daily Mail) has claimed Pep wants Inter hitman Lautaro Martinez to replace Sergio Aguero at Eastlands eventually, though the Sky Blues boss may want to accelerate those plans.
Barcelona are likewise interested in the Argentine and if he joins La Blaugrana, it becomes far more difficult for City to land their man.
After scoring eight goals in 15 appearances this term, while also demonstrating some useful playmaking ability, Martinez has shown himself to be precisely the kind of forward Guardiola likes.
Aguero will return from the sidelines soon enough, but he needs more cover. Gabriel Jesus is not yet the finished article, whereas the Nerazzurri frontman is proving he’s a top-level striker.
City are known to be sniffing around Samuel Umtiti of Barcelona. However, they’re not alone, with Manchester United and Chelsea also interested in the injury-prone French defender.
He is allegedly keen on staying at the Camp Nou, which could prove to be a sticking point for the English trio. However, a not-too-shabby paycheck and the promise of regular game-time could turn his head.
Umtiti couldn’t be guaranteed a starting berth at Stamford Bridge, given the talent the Blues have in central defence. United, meanwhile, cannot give him Champions League football.
Moneybags City have the advantage – they can outbid everyone, and they have a hole in the heart of their backline for him to fill.
Erling Haaland is going places, obviously.
The Norwegian wonderkid has been in sublime form for Red Bull Salzburg in 2019/20. He’s currently sitting on 28 goals in 21 appearances, eight of those coming in just five Champions League matches.
And the best thing about it is Haaland may cost just
City have long been admirers of Bournemouth centre-back Nathan Ake, but his move to the Etihad just never materialised. Now would be a good time for the Premier League champions to change that.
In the summer, it was claimed the Dutchman was ’likely’ to switch up north for £40m before the start of the new season. It’s clear City’s hierarchy view him as an ideal option to partner Aymeric Laporte.
If City revisit their interest in Ake, they would have an exquisite backline once the injured Frenchman returns to the field.
Think back to the impact Virgil van Dijk had after joining Liverpool. Ok, it probably wouldn’t be quite so spectacular, but Ake’s presence would give confidence to the whole team, not just the defence.
Mikel Oyarzabal is another star with a release clause, but fans may be astonished by the asking price.
To prise him away from Real Sociedad, Guardiola’s men would have to pay approximately £68m. And yet, it seems City are willing to stump up the cash.
He’s a highly rated talent in La Liga, earning rave reviews for his virtuoso displays in attack for La Real. Those performances have convinced Pep he’s worth the money, with the Sky Blues seemingly set to trigger the clause.
In the absence of Leroy Sane on the flanks, Oyarzabal would certainly be of use, allowing Bernardo Silva to drop back and replace his ageing namesake David.
This may be the most likely transfer of them all.
City need an accomplished centre half to bring solidity and strength to the side. 21-year-old RB Leipzig defender Dayot Upamecano could be that man.
They’re believed to be plotting a move for him in January, and may table a bid as they seek a worthy partner for Laporte.
Upamecano will be in the final 18 months of his deal by that time, making things slightly more straightforward for City.
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