Following the recent Champions League quarter-final success over Paris St. Germain, Manchester City became the tenth English club historically to qualify for the final four of Europe’s most prestigious club competition since its inception.
After eight years of huge financial backing from their Abu Dhabi ownership – infrastructure and playing staff combined – City have now arrived at the top tier of the European game and look sure bets to stay put for the long term.
The January transfer window went by largely unnoticed by the top Premier League clubs, but the major news story of that day was that current Bayern Munich coach, Pep Guardiola was to join up with Manchester City for the upcoming campaign. On the surface, it looks like a marriage made in heaven for the Blues faithful by capturing one of the most sought after coaches in the world game, added to their unlimited financial power.
It promises to be a very interesting summer of signings for several Premier League teams, but most notably at the Etihad Stadium, and here below are five potential new recruits for Guardiola’s regime.
A successful pursuit of Juventus’ midfield dynamo, Paul Pogba would be a huge boost for City for several reasons. Firstly, the 22 year-old French international is already one of the most wanted footballing commodities in Europe due to an array of glittering performances. If Yaya Toure was to leave for a new challenge in the summer, then Pogba would be an ideal replacement – in stature and skill. As a former Manchester United youth player, Pogba left Old Trafford to enhance his career prospects, and it would be a real boost to City if they could add the precocious midfield man, and a stark reminder to their Red neighbours on the talent that was allowed to leave.
Expect Pogba to shine at the Euros this summer leaving him with the type of price tag that only a club like City can afford.
The Bayern hierarchy will have already dissuaded Guardiola and City from any attempts of pilfering from the Spaniard’s old squad in the summer but a move for David Alaba would certainly improve the playing squad at Eastlands. The 23 year-old Austrian international is equally adept on the left side or in a holding midfield role and would provide very strong competition to those positions. Possessing a lethal shot from set-pieces, the highly-rated Alaba would be a very costly, but useful acquisition.
Guardiola will still have a very keen eye on his native Spain for potential signings, and highly-rated French centre-back Aymeric Laporte could be on his radar – especially with Argentinian defender, Martin Demichelis likely to leave in the summer. Laporte, 21, who plays for Athletic Bilbao has produced a string of fine, dominating performances for his club side that have alerted Europe’s top clubs. Still to win his first full international cap, although it is only a matter of when not if, Laporte would be an excellent addition alongside the likes of Kompany, Otamendi and Mangala.
Argentinian striker, Sergio Aguero is the main man as the attacking focal point for Manchester City, but it is an area of the squad that Guardiola could look to enhance. Wilfried Bony has struggled since his move from Swansea, while Kelechi Iheanacho is still learning his craft as a striker. Step forward, Antoine Griezmann of Atletico Madrid. The 25 year-old has netted 20 league goals in 32 appearances and is a striker of the highest quality. Equally useful as in either a lone role or in a partnership, Griezmann would be a huge addition if Guardiola could make it happen.
One of the most promising young players in German football in recent months is Schalke wide-man Leroy Sane. The pacey 20 year-old has shot to prominence with some outstanding performances for his club side that has had scouts flocking to the Veltins-Arena. Mainly employed in a right-wing role, Sane has scored six Bundesliga goals this season and already has full International honours with Germany. If Sane was to be added to the City squad in the summer, then he would offer another option in wide and attacking roles, with searing pace and direct forward play.