The Premier League champions have identified two players they are ready to make offers for, and could go for another two depending on outgoings
Pep Guardiola has already warded off complacency at Manchester City once, and his task now – after following up a 100-point season by winning a domestic treble – is to motivate his players to get even better.
To do that, he wants new blood in his team.
“Every player has to feel, ‘I have to play good or I don’t play’ if you want to be consistent after what we have done these two seasons,” Guardiola said last Friday.
“They have to feel, ‘I have to win again, if not I have problems, I’m in trouble, I cannot be longer here.'”
City’s rough outline this summer, sources have told Goal, is to bring in four players and ship out four players. A new defensive midfielder is the priority, but a new centre-back has also been targeted.
If City sell Danilo and Leroy Sane (or Gabriel Jesus), they are also prepared to move for a right-back and a new forward.
Goal looks at their preferred targets below…
After Vincent Kompany’s shock departure, City are in the market for a new centre-back. They had been talking to Ajax’s Matthijs De Ligt around this time last year, with a view to a move this summer, but Goal understands the Blues have decided not to rival Barcelona, and other clubs, for his signature after all. Part of the reasoning is that they do not want to deal with his agent, Mino Raiola.
Guardiola recently said transfers have become difficult because “everthing is so expensive, the agents as well are so expensive”, while there has been bad blood between the representative and City since Mario Balotelli’s days in Manchester.
Instead, the leading candidate replace Kompany is Leicester City’s Harry Maguire. Guardiola is said to be a fan of his aerial and leadership ability, as well as his confidence in possession. City could have to pay around £60 million ($76m) for the England international.
Nicolas Otamendi could also leave. Goal has previously reported that he would favour a move to Valencia, but Atletico Madrid are also believed to be interested and that could be a move that suits all parties; Otamendi wants to play more, and Atleti need to repace the Inter-bound Diego Godin.
If City do let two major centre-backs leave, they will only bring in one replacement – and that is hoped to be Maguire.
The shortfall at the back will be made up by Fernandinho, who could drop back for certain matches, and, when it comes to the Carabao Cup, Eric Garcia. The 18-year-old is set to be promoted to the first-team set-up next season, although would not be expected to play much in the Premier League just yet.
Danilo could also leave City this summer (Inter have been interested), and if so that would mean a new right-back comes in. City are big admirers of Crystal Palace’s Aaron Wan-Bissaka, and could make an official move for him once Danilo’s situation is clearer.
The 21-year-old has pledged to stay at Palace next season, but Manchester United are rumoured to be interested, and City could also join the party. If so, he is expected to cost more than £50m ($63m). But any move for a right-back depends on Danilo’s future.
City will go into next season relying on Benjamin Mendy to be fit enough to play a role in the first team, even if it is back-up to Oleksandr Zinchenko.
Ben Chilwell had been on the verge of a move to the Etihad Stadium until the end of April, when the Premier League champions suddenly pulled the plug. If Mendy gets another serious injury at the start of next season, City will look to buy a replacement in January, and sell the Frenchman. Unless there is another u-turn, Chilwell will not sign for City this summer.
Fabian Delph is also expected to leave, along with Eliaquim Mangala.
POSSIBLE INS: Harry Maguire, Aaron Wan-Bissaka
POSSIBLE OUTS: Vincent Kompany, Nicolas Otamendi, Danilo, Fabian Delph, Eliaquim Mangala
City’s one and only option to strengthen the deep-lying midfield role is Atletico’s Rodri. The club identified him as their top target for the role long before the end of the season, and they are ready to pay his buy-out clause.
Barcelona and Bayern Munich have been credited with a rival interest, while Atleti could offer him a new contract, but City are confident he will choose them, having given his approval to their terms some time ago.
There remains a chance that Ilkay Gundogan could leave, but the current expectation is that he will stay. If he does not sign a new contract this summer, or if he says he will not sign one during next season, City could cash in.
However, the club’s intention has always been to keep him, and that position has been strengthened due to his fantastic form at the end of last season. They had feared that he was set on leaving, but contract talks are set to resume soon, if they have not done so already, and it is now more likely than not that he will agree to a new contract.
City had been looking at Sporting’s Bruno Fernandes as an alternative, but talk of advanced negotiations turned out to be exagerrated, and as it stands there will be no further movement on that.
David Silva was said to have received an offer from Japan, but it is expected that he will stay at City next season and fulfil the final year of his contract. A move to Asia could be on the cards next summer, however.
POSSIBLE INS: Rodri
POSSIBLE OUTS: Ilkay Gundogan
Bayern Munich have confirmed that they are “thinking about” a move for Leroy Sane, and that could end up coming to fruition. City and Guardiola want to keep the Germany winger, but they have been trying to renew his contract for over a year, with no breakthrough.
If he decides to sign a new deal, City will gladly keep him. If he does not, however, that could open the door for Bayern. Goal understands that a bid of €100m would be the tipping point for City. Sane’s situation, as of right now, is 50-50. Another major European club is believed to have shown some level of interest, but Bayern are the stand-out candidates.
Sane’s contract talks had stalled because of interfering by his mother (his father is acting as his agent). City believe that his mother has been pushing for a move to Bayern, and leaking information to the German press.
If Sane does go then City would further explore a move for Joao Felix. Goal reported in April that City had been in talks with Benfica about the 19-year-old, although they are reluctant to pay his buy-out clause of €120m. City have spoken at length with agent Jorge Mendes about a move, but as it stands the club would not push ahead with it unless Sane leaves.
Or if Gabriel Jesus leaves. City would be open to that possibility, so long as they receive a high fee and could replace him with somebody they deem to be a considerable upgrade.
Felix fits into that bracket, but there are not many others. The Blues did have a close look at Luka Jovic throughout the campaign but a move was never a serious possibility, perhaps because he is set to move elsewhere.
POSSIBLE INS: Joao Felix
POSSIBLE OUTS: Leroy Sane, Gabriel Jesus