Pep Guardiola gambles: 10 players for Man City to sign this summer
Jamie Clark, Sports Editor | May 20, 2016
Pep Guardiola is on his way to Manchester City, already equipped with boardroom allies previously poached from Barcelona by the Etihad outfit.
The Catalan coach is virtually certain to receive considerable financial backing by the board following his appointment this summer, and that means Man City fans can dream of building a fantasy football style side.
Who could Guardiola get? Coral’s football experts consider 10 terrific options he might take to the blue half of Manchester.
Everton may pay a heavy price for their underachieving season, and that won’t stop with the sacking of Roberto Martinez. The lack of European football at Goodison Park is likely to result in the Toffees’ most talented players seeking new pastures.
England attacking midfielder Barkley has long been touted as a Man City player of the future, and Guardiola will doubtless be asking the Etihad board to bring in younger legs to replace forward-thinking Yaya Toure, who is believed to have had a stormy relationship with the incoming Catalan coach.
With Toure also rumoured to be having a reunion with Roberto Mancini at Inter Milan, Barkley could prove to be the perfect replacement as City plan for the long haul.
Sticking with Everton, Barkley’s clubmate Stones, who is evens with Coral to make Manchester City his next club, is the type of ball-playing centre back that Guardiola loves to have.
The Toffees cannot drive as hard a bargain for Stones as they might have last summer when Chelsea were very interested in securing his services. A number of high-profile mistakes is a setback for this obvious talent, but he has not become a bad player overnight.
Stones struggled with the open style of Roberto Martinez, but away from Goodison he’ll get plenty of protection if siding with Guardiola. Possession is everything, but the Spaniard’s sides are built upon vastly more solid defensive foundations.
A virtual unknown 12 months ago, Leicester City anchorman Kante was among the low-key signings made by Claudio Ranieri last summer, but must rank as one of the most influential transfers in Premier League history.
Topping all the tables for the least glamorous stats; most interceptions, top tackles and highest accuracy when getting stuck in, Kante played a huge part in the Foxes’ Cinderella story culminating in title triumph.
Earning international recognition with his first caps for France and a spot on the hosts’ roster for Euro 2016, Kante will be an in-demand player. Man City’s current deep-lying engine room options are lacking his dynamism and willingness to get stuck in.
Guardiola teams have always had a defensive midfielder of distinction; think Sergio Busquets or Xabi Alonso. Fernando Reges and Fabian Delph don’t do enough at the Etihad, though Fernandinho should certainly have a future. Pairing him with Kante makes perfect sense.
Staying with Frenchmen, Athletic Bilbao’s injured defender Aymeric Laporte has missed out on a call-up to France’s Euro 2016 squad, but could still be on the move this summer.
One of the hottest properties in world football, the left-footed centre back looks like a Guardiola type of player and one of his first jobs at Manchester City is to sort out the rearguard.
While Nicolas Otamendi and Eliaquim Mangala can still come good, they haven’t exactly deputsied with distinction for Etihad captain Vincent Kompany, who has struggled for fitness this past season.
Like Barkley above, Juventus midfield dynamo Pogba has been linked with Man City for some time. A leading maker of assists in Serie A this term as the Old Lady picked up a fifth successive Scudetto, France’s star turn is only going to get better.
Whether Pogba is so bitter at Manchester United not playing him when still a precocious teenager that he would sign for their city rivals remains to be seen. Guardiola and the Etihad hierarchy would have to break the bank to get him, though.
Money is no object for Man City, however, and sums of £80m plus have been mentioned for Pogba, who would add some younger legs to the engine room.
Tottenham left back Rose has finally got the international recognition his consistency at club level deserves with a spot on the England roster for Euro 2016.
It is hard to see Guardiola retaining both Gael Clichy and Serbia’s Aleksandar Kolarov at City this summer, with the latter linked with a return to Serie A once more.
Adding another attack-minded full back down the left looks necessary, and Rose fits the bill. Testing Spurs’ resolve may make for a fascinating transfer saga, as shrewd chairman Daniel Levy always negotiates a great deal if selling players.
If used as a deep-lying playmaker, then Arsenal and England midfielder Wilshere would have a lot to offer both Guardiola and Manchester City. The big question is whether he could stay fit for long enough to be effective?
Roy Hodgson has gambled on Wilshere, so might it be time for a new medical team at club level to help manage the player and perhaps prevent some of these injuries from occurring?
Delph has made so little impact that another left-footed option in the Etihad engine room would bring extra balance to the side.
While Rose and Wilshere have been recognised, Arsenal attacker Walcott was overlooked for Euro 2016. He has lost his place in the Gunners XI and that may mean the writing is on the wall.
Priced at 8/1 to move to Man City, Walcott would provide Guardiola with a pacy threat that could damage teams either in support to, instead of or alongside Sergio Aguero.
Easing the goal burden on the Etihad’s star striker is essential. Kelechi Iheanacho has done plenty in this regard when given opportunities by Pellegrini, but greater strength in depth is certainly needed.
Guardiola has signed Chile star Sanchez once before in his career, so why not do so again? The electric attacker sparkled somewhat less in his second season at Arsenal, but that may have been because of his extended summer last year when inspiring his country to Copa America glory.
Under Catalan coach Guardiola in his maiden campaign with Barcelona, Sanchez averaged a goal every other game in La Liga. The prospect of linking up with a manager that can get the best out of him will surely appeal.
Most likely to be used on the flank, Sanchez’s stronger striking instincts would be a clear upgrade on Manuel Pellegrini favourite Jesus Navas, who may well return to his native Spain this summer.
Alternatively, Man City could gamble on emerging German talent Sane, named to the World Cup winners’ Euro 2016 preliminary squad. Yet another attacking midfielder off the Schalke production line, this would be a first big career move for the 20-year-old.
What appeals about signing Sane, as with Sanchez, is versatility in forward areas. It all depends on whether the Etihad outfit want to bring in ready-made players or pay slightly less of a premium on ones still developing.
Check out more Premier League articles like this one on our dedicated page.