Manchester City have endured a disappointing campaign so far, as Liverpool seem to have the Premier League wrapped up already.
Star centre-back Aymeric Laporte was hit with a long-term injury back in August and the Cityzens have suffered dearly. They have conceded 20 goals already this term, having conceded just three more during the entirety of last season.
Although they have world-class players in depth in the forward positions, they are severely lacking in defence, with Fernandinho regularly filling in at centre-back. With the abundance of cash available for Pep Guardiola, where do City need to strengthen to get their title-push back on track?
Here’s 90min‘s take on who Pep should bring to the Etihad.
Dayot Upamecano (Centre-Back)
Now, this could be a tricky one for City to pull off. RB Leipzig are top of the Bundesliga as German clubs head into their winter break, and Upamecano is one of the reasons why they are doing so well.
The France Under-21 international has made 13 appearances for his club this season after missing the first four matches through injury. Since his return, he has averaged 2.5 tackles per game and boasts an 88.8% pass completion, a stat which Guardiola will be looking at keenly.
Judging by how defensively stable Leipzig have been this season, there will be a few clubs looking at Upamecano. He has made 133 club appearances – including 10 in the Champions League at just 21 years-of-age – giving the Frenchman experience at the highest level.
Alphonso Davies (Winger)
Sticking to the Bundesliga theme, Alphonso Davies is one of the biggest talents in the league, if not the world. The 19-year-old Canadian has been playing left-back for Bayern this season, and may not be fulfilling his full potential in defence.
This is Davies’ breakthrough season in the Bundesliga, as he has started Bayern’s previous nine matches, albeit filling in for injured players. However, with a pass completion rate of 87%, and an average of 2.5 tackles per game, Davies has made a name for himself not only as a promising winger, but a versatile youngster. This is a trait that Guardiola wants from his players, adding more depth in defence and attack.
This could be beneficial for both sides, as City winger Leroy Sané has been heavily linked with a move to Munich for some time now. With Guardiola’s track record of developing youth into world-class players, the enticement could be there for the Canadian.
Milan Skriniar (Centre-Back)
This one may be a long shot, but Milan Skriniar could be the answer to City’s defensive woes. Inter are top of Serie A on goal difference having only conceded 14 times all season, with Skriniar ever-present.
The Slovakian has been a commanding figure at the back at San Siro, with his solid defensive presence and excellent passing range. 86% passing accuracy and average of one tackle and interception per game makes Skriniar the ideal centre-back signing for Guardiola, but the offer would have to be very good to entice the 24-year-old away from Inter.
With the Slovakian still yet to reach his prime, City will be interested in signing the defender to fit the mould which Pep has formed since arriving in Manchester, which is to develop younger players into world-class stars.
Victor Osimhen (Striker)
This 20-year-old has burst onto the scene in France, and currently boasts 13 goals in all competitions this season for Lille.
City already have two strikers who are capable of scoring when called upon, but Sergio Aguero is now 31 and will start to slow down in the coming years. With an average of three shots and 0.55 goals per game, the youngster is a natural finisher and can get better with age.
Third-top scorer in the league, bettered only by boy-wonder Kylian Mbappé and Wissam Ben Yedder of Monaco, plenty of Europe’s top clubs will be looking at Osimhen. However, showing his goalscoring prowess in both Ligue 1 and the Champions League will alert Guardiola, as he may prepare for life where Aguero starts to decline.
Thomas Partey (Defensive Midfield)
Partey plays much like Fernandinho, who has been pushed back into defence this season, and could add much needed depth in defensive midfield.
The Ghanian averages three tackles per match and has a pass success average of 87%, which fits Guardiola’s ideology perfectly. Partey seems to know when to foul and take a yellow card, as he has picked up seven already this season, reminiscent of Fernandinho during City’s centurion season.
This looks a realistic transfer for the Citizens, as most of the focus on Atletico’s midfield is on Saul, who has performed well throughout the season. Partey would be the cheaper option, and just as effective in the system that Guardiola enforces.