When Pep Guardiola arrived at Manchester City the excitement around the club and the media was palpable. This is a manager who is regarded as one of the greatest ever and who is considered to be an innovator of the modern game.
Wherever Pep has gone, be it at Barcelona or Bayern Munich – his two previous clubs – he’s progressed them both on and off the pitch, season by season. That is exactly what he’s doing at Manchester City so far also, delivering their first Premier League title since the 2013-14 last season, and in spectacular fashion too, breaking seven records in the process. They scored 106 goals to break Chelsea’s record of 103 from the 2009-10 season and in the process beat that same Chelsea side’s record of having the biggest positive goal difference, with City overtaking Chelsea’s +71 with their +79 goal difference.
Fast forward to 2018 and the events currently unfolding in the Premier League, though, and you’ll see a City side that are facing stronger competition this campaign, most notably from Jürgen Klopp’s impressive Liverpool side.
As the January transfer window approaches and Pep Guardiola looks to continually evolve his Manchester City team, just who could he be looking at acquiring to enable his Citizens side to fend off the likes of Liverpool and re-establish the huge gap they built up last season on their way to the Premier League title?
Should Manchester City add a signing or two in January and improve their squad further, it’s hard to write off their Premier League winner odds of 4/11 and see anyone else, including Liverpool, stopping them again.
Below are a few names in the frame as Manchester City prepare to potentially splash the cash once again.
Recent reports have linked Guardiola with a £50 million move for Turkey’s rising star, who is being watched by a number of Premier League sides. Ünder, a tricky winger who plays for Serie A side Roma, has four years remaining on his contract, meaning he certainly wouldn’t come cheap and is clearly highly regarded in Rome. It could be argued that City simply don’t need another wide player though, but if Pep disagrees, then Ünder is a worthy candidate.
Ünder has impressed in a Roma side that is playing well below the standard of the side that reached the semi-final of the Champions League last season. On the continent the Turkish international has scored three goals and provided two assists in six Champions League games so far this season.
RBLeipzig and Germany striker Timo Werner, who has previously admitted his admiration for City’s fierce rivals Manchester United, is a highly sought after talent. Proven in the Bundesliga, the pacy striker could be the ideal replacement for the misfiring Gabriel Jesus – a player who has had a fairly torrid season so far overall.
Werner is certainly a fan of England’s top division, recently saying:
“Yes, playing in the Premier League is a dream for me. I would like to play for two or three clubs.”
His stats speak for themselves. Werner has amassed 54 goals in 96 games for his current club RB Leipzig, and while he may have misfired at the World Cup with Germany, where he failed to score a single goal for the defending champions, his club form demonstrates that has the potential to become a truly world class striker.
Previously linked with Barcelona, the 23-year-old is a key figure at the heart of Diego Simeone’s midfield at Atlético Madrid, who are keen to keep hold of one their star men. Guardiola has insisted there is no truth to the rumours but with a reported buyout clause in his contract and rumours the likes of İlkay Gündoğan could depart and youngster Phil Foden go out on loan, Saúl Ñíguez could be seen as the ideal addition to his squad.
Guardiola, who rarely admits his interest in players, recently said: “Man City have interest in 125 players in the last day so it is just one more. He is a fantastic player but we are not interested in him.”
A box-to-box midfielder, he is the player to turn defence into attack. He has chipped in with the odd goal during his time at Atléti, scoring 30 goals and assisting 18 in 227appearances for the club.
Ultimately, time will tell on this one, but stranger things have certainly happened in football, and at Manchester City.