Guardiola has recently insisted categorically that there will be no transfers in January.
Under no circumstances.
Nothing to talk about here.
But if you dig down into his pronouncement you can see the caveat.
“When we created the squad at the beginning of the season [the idea] was not to go to the January [window] except if we have problems, but I have a deep squad and a lot of players who cannot play although I trust them a lot. They believe I don’t like them but that is not true, I trust a lot in all the players, all of them.”
Well, we DO have problems in the form of something akin to an injury crisis. Now, of course KDB is returning and might get some minutes against Everton. Whilst the other injuries ruling out Aguero, Danilo, Fernandinho and David Silva for tonight’s game against Hoffenheim may be short term, we simply cannot continue to keep squeezing the life-force out of the latter two players in particular given their age.
Whether we do business in January or not, here are my picks to augment our squad either in the New Year or, as seems more likely, in the summer. Due to the cap on foreigners in the squad for both CL and PL, this would of course mean some outgoings. These could well be Mangala, Zinchenko, Bravo and possibly one or two others.
If Guardiola wants to double up on the Premiership and The Champions League then surely he cannot long persist with midfielders doing a turn at LB. Mendy is injury prone as we know and he clearly needs competition to keep him sweet. 27 year-old Faouzi Ghoulam has just returned for Napoli after a long-term injury but is once again beginning to show the form that scared the life out of us when we played them in the CL last year and why he was heavily linked to City before. Lightning quick, with great defensive skills, Ghoulam does not have quite the crossing skills of Mendy but would surely be an outstanding competitor for Mendy for our left wing-back berth. The only problem is it’s Napoli. And that means dealing with De Laurentiis.
Let’s face it, Pep fell in love in the two games against Lyon. Do we need him? Questionable. But that does not matter much to Pep as seen when he snatched Bernardo Silva against all expectations as soon as he sensed the opportunity. A much younger upgrade on Ilkay Gundogan (who many feel is made of glass) and more of a goal threat, Aouar is perfect for Pep’s system. Lyon look set to be this year’s version of Monaco and raids on their first team squad are confidently predicted.
A visual and technical combination of Patrick Vieira & Yaya Toure, Ndombele looks perfect for the Premier League. With Frenkie De Jong being ever more strongly linked to Barcelona (his father has weighed in on that subject) and because many feel the Ajax youngster is a little bit too lightweight and lacking the physicality and shithousery to truly replace Fernandinho in the long term, Ndombele showed in the 2 games against City that he possesses just the right stuff.
Two strikers are not enough. We all know it and we look back fondly on the days when we had 4. All it takes is the annual spell on the injury table for Aguero coupled with the stop-start development of de Jesus to rob us of the clinical edge needed to reward our long spells of possession. Profligacy is an issue that can hurt any team and City are vulnerable in patches. It’s always felt a little strange to start campaigns with just two senior strikers. Nicolas Pépé has been strongly linked. Lille’s top goal-scoring French-Ivorian is a 23 year-old Ivory Coast international with 11 goals (+ 5 assists) in 17 starts for Lille so far this season. Arsenal, Bayern and Barcelona have also been linked but City scouts were spotted a few days ago at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy over the weekend as Pépé netted a late equaliser against Reims (Manchester Evening News). Of course, Pépé is technically a winger but he looks to have the sort of skill set to allow Guardiola to convert him, as Wenger did with Thierry Henry, into a potent frontman.
What do you think, Blues?