With Manchester City having a disappointing season and considering the high standards of both Pep Guardiola and the club, they need to look forward to this summer and see who they can bring in to compete for a League title and a Champions League title next season. Considering Man City have spent over 200 million Euros the past two seasons, we could see a very busy and expensive summer for Man City. If you take a look at where Manchester City’s problems have lied, it has been all in the defense, and that is where they need to invest in new players.
This year Claudio Bravo has had a shaky year in his first year in Manchester. Bravo has made some questionable passing decisions, which has led to the opposition getting easy goals. Bravo has also let in some goals that look like they could be easily saved. However, there is a cheap young goalie out there that would fit into Pep’s system; this goalie is Gerónimo Rulli. Rulli was contracted to Manchester City until he was sold last summer to Real Sociedad. Rulli has a high passing percentage this year at 73.3 percent. Rulli also has 82 saves and 9 clean sheets this season, which ranks him among the top goalies in Spain’s first division. Rulli is only 24 years old as well, and could develop into Pep’s system. The best thing about Rulli is that Manchester City have a buy-back clause for him that is set at 14 million euros. This would be an easy and cheap buy for Man City, and Rulli could be Man City’s number one keeper for many years.
Manchester City’s center backs have been inconsistent this year, as they have had some good games against teams like Sunderland, Bournemouth, and West Ham. However, what do all those teams have in common? They are all in the bottom half of the table. When you look at when they play teams who are in the top seven their defense gets demolished some games. John Stones and Nicolás Otamendi have been the partnership in defense this season. The problem with Stones is he does not possess great defensive abilities, and he makes very risky decisions that sometimes lead to easy goals for the opposition, but he is a good passer, he is young, and he will grow into Guardiola’s system. Otamendi on the other hand has decent defending capabilities, but he is a subpar passer, and isn’t one of the most intelligent players when he is on the ball, which is crucial for center back in Guardiola’s system. The difficult thing about buying someone for Man City’s defense is finding someone who fits Guardiola’s system. Guardiola needs a defender who can do all the key things you need out of a good center back, like marking, tackling, and anticipation. However, Guardiola also needs a center back who can pass, and is good on the ball. This kind of player is very scarce though, so Man City are going to have to pay a lot of money on a defender if they want this kind of player.
Step forth Leonardo Bonucci, who is one of the best center backs in the world, not just for his defending abilities, but for his amazing passing, and technique on the ball. Bonucci is the best passing center back in the world, and is currently applying his trade for Italian giants Juventus. Bonucci’s market value is 40 million Euros, so Man City might have to pay as much as 65 million Euros, which would be no problem for Man City. However, Bonucci had a little altercation with his manager at Juventus, Massimiliano Allegri. So, the feasibility of getting Bonucci may be higher. If Man City were to get Bonucci this summer it would be an amazing signing, and Bonucci would easily be the best center back in the Premier League.
Man City have featured a few left backs this season including Gaël Clichy and Aleksandar Kolarov, who are left backs by trade, but Man City have also had Fernandinho, who is a central midfielder, play left back. He was played there due to injuries and that Clichy and Kolarov are not the left backs Guardiola wants. Clichy and Kolarov lack the attacking capabilities that Guardiola wants, and they also can’t support the midfield, which is the style Man City play so they can control the tempo and ball control they demand. Juan Bernat is a backup left back at Bayern Munich, but is still a top left back in the world. Bernat is fast, young, and has already played in Guardiola’s system when Pep used to coach at Bayern Munich. Bernat is creative in the final third and can add another element of attack when Man City are pushing forward. Man City would be able to get Bernat for a decent price due to him not receiving a lot of playing time, since he is a backup to the best left back in the world in David Alaba. Bernat would be a good choice for Man City as he possesses all the key qualities a Guardiola left back needs.
At the right back positon, Pablo Zabaleta and Bacary Sagna have featured this season for Man City. Zabaleta and Sagna both do not possess the attacking options as they did when they were younger. Zabaleta at 32 years old and Sagna at 34 years old don’t look like they can fit into Guardiola’s system at this stage in their career. With Zabaleta being linked to a move to West Ham in the summer, it looks like Sagna will be the only registered right back on the team for next year if Man City don’t dip into the transfer market.
A player who goes unnoticed, and should be considered a top right back in the world is Alessandro Florenzi. Florenzi currently plays for A.S. Roma in Italy. Florenzi is an attack minded full back who can also play in the midfield, which is great for Guardiola’s tactics as he likes full backs who can support the midfield, while still being a threat in the final third. Florenzi can be compared to one of the best full backs in the world, David Alaba. Alaba played under Guardiola while he was the coach at Bayern Munich. Alaba was great under Guardiola, and Florenzi could experience the same success that Alaba experienced. Unfortunately for Man City Florenzi has been at A.S. Roma since 2002 when he was a part of the youth academy. Florenzi may want to stay with his childhood club. Florenzi has also had a terrible injury this season, which has limited him to only nine Serie A (Italian first division) appearances. Florenzi is supposed to be sidelined until this upcoming August. There are some conditions that could benefit Man City in this transfer. Florenzi has not won any silverware for Roma, and may feel like he needs to leave in order to win something. Florenzi is 26, and is in his prime, and may think this is a good time to move since he is at the peak of his powers and will be able to play a lot on a competitive team like Man City. Florenzi’s market value is 20 million Euros, which is pretty cheap considering how scarce a versatile right back is. Man City may be able to talk the asking price of Florenzi down due to his injury, and that he only has two more years remaining on his contract.
Man City have struggled this year when teams outplay them in the midfield. This is due to their attack-minded midfield, and that Man City don’t have a true defensive midfielder who is a strong force, but can also play in Guardiola’s system. The man to fill this role is Tiemoué Bakayoko of A.S. Monaco. Bakayoko is one of the reasons Monaco have had such a successful season, as he is the force in midfield that teams can’t get by. However, Bakayoko is raw and sometimes shows his inexperience and immaturity. Nonetheless, there is no doubt of Bakayoko’s physical abilities, and that he is learning fast in a similar style of playing to Guardiola’s for Monaco. Bakayoko is a slight risk as you don’t know if he is going to be a good fit for the way Guardiola wants to play, but he is in very high demand this summer, and it looks very likely he will leave Monaco for somewhere in the Premier League. Bakayoko would be a great addition to Man City, because in the Premier League you need a strong force in midfield if you want to win the League.
There are so many players that are going to be available this summer for Man City to look at. The important thing for Man City is not buying the world class players who are available but buying the players who will fit into the system, and fill the positions they need.