City’s Holding Midfielders for Next Season

Verdict from The Blue: To stay: Gundogan, Fernandinho, Toure.

To go: Delph, Fernando. To Buy: William Carvalho and Fabinho

Fabian Delph has had a nightmare start to his Manchester City career and particularly a very bad groin tendon problem. Back in January, Delph described his recent ordeal:

“It’s been a bit of a roller-coaster ride since I’ve been here, I’ve not managed to get going,” Delph said. “But I’m over my injuries now and I feel really good so I’m ready to try to help out my teammates. What I had is tight tendons in my groins and we tried to rehab it for six or seven weeks and it wasn’t working, I kept getting little tears in my tendons. So then I went to have an operation with Dr Cugat [Renowned Spanish surgeon]. It’s been about nine or 10 weeks since then and its been a bit of a nightmare for me. I’ve been very frustrated. I’ve been injured for the best part of four-and-a-half months. I seem to be the forgotten man at the minute. I’m fit again and available for selection.”

However Delph rarely gets game time even when he is fit. Pep may take the view that the Englishman is a passenger.

Fernando Reges: City fans find it very difficult to decide if  Fernando should stay or go and with good reason. Rarely injured, he has a consistent base level of competent performances whilst not offering much going forward. He has not been a regular in the starting eleven under Guardiola and there are some who suggest that we should be getting a more rounded contribution from any player worthy of a squad place.

Ilkay Gundogan describes himself as equally at home as either an attacking or defensive midfielder and was extremely effective, showcasing both aspects to his game before again succumbing to injury. The German was Pep’s first purchase at a very good price so for the moment he’s going nowhere given his European know-how and the calibre of displays that he delivers when fit.

Aleix Garcia is clearly a young man with a bright future and has operated tidily in central midfield when given the opportunity. Although Spanish, as an under 21 star Garcia does not take one of the 17 spots needed by senior non-homegrown players. Pep says: “He’s a great defensive midfielder and he doesn’t feel the pressure but he’s still young and he knows what he needs to improve.” He’s one of Pep’s pet projects.

Fernandinho is too good (and versatile) to even consider moving on. Often one of the first names on the team sheet. Pep’s a fan: “I am so happy with him and would be delighted if he continues for a long time here. He’s got one more year on his contract. It’s not just in my mind but the club’s mind”[to extend his contract].

William Carvalho, long coveted by several big premier league clubs, seems to be one of the favourites to be brought in to compete for the 4th central midfield role. The Daily Star is reporting that this is almost a done deal with the player having ditched his former agent (Jorge Mendes) to sign up with Pep’s brother Pere Guardiola. Carvalho is viewed as the ideal replacement for Yaya Toure and has many similar qualities. The Portuguese Euro 2016 winner is the perfect age for the role (25) and is said to be available for less than his £30 million release fee. A bargain.

Fabinho by all accounts, has a ‘gentleman’s agreement’ allowing him to leave Monaco if he wishes this summer and it is his versatility that will tempt Pep. An accomplished right back, Fabinho has recently been used in centre-mid where he has done well in Europe and Ligue 1. He would offer a significant upgrade on most of our CMs in terms of energy and goal-threat.

Verdict from The Blue

Fernando and Delph may have earned reprieves. Fernandinho, Aleix Garcia and Gundogan look safe. With 4 senior spots for this kind of player (Garcia is Under 21), and since Gundogan is clearly an injury risk, at least one addition is needed to cover for him and offer a younger and more dynamic upgrade on Yaya and Fernando if he stays.

I would lose one of Delph and Fernando and buy both Carvalho and Fabinho.

RTs, follows and comments @boltfromablue are much appreciated.