Manchester City’s 2017/18 Premier League season will be very hard to recreate as they romped to the title by breaking several records.
Even the hard task-master Pep Guardiola would find it tough to engage the same level of ruthless enthusiasm into his players next term, despite knowing that the Spaniard is a serial winner and will do everything to keep his team at the highest level.
In terms of squad depth, the Citizens have few issues in midfield to solve. The departure of Yaya Toure means they need a new midfielder. Now, recent reports are suggesting that Ilkay Gundogan could be on his way out to Barcelona. This will compel City to fill a gaping hole in the midfield, with David Silva also not getting any younger.
Hence, let’s take a look at three possible alternatives Manchester City could sign if Gundogan does indeed leave the Etihad Stadium in the summer:
Jean Michael Seri
The Ivorian has been linked with several clubs and City would do well to get him from Nice. The 26-year old midfielder has the ability to play intricate football, make late runs inside the box and is also very good on the ball. He has all the makings to replace Gundogan at Manchester City.
Talking about stats, Seri had a pass accuracy rate of 90.4%. He provided up to 2.1 key passes per game (65 key passes in Ligue 1 last season). Seri can also dribble at tight situations at a rate of 1.2 per game to open up opposition defences.
Seri can play as a defensive or a central midfielder, and he is sure to improve City’s squad if they do make a move for him.
Due to his commanding presence, the 23-year-old has the ability to dominate games single-handedly. He is surprisingly good on the ball and can also protect the ball using his body to go past players.
Taking stats into account, Savic has a good key passing rate. In total, he provided 52 key passes in 35 games in Serie A last season. His propensity to score goals from midfield is indispensable.
The Serb scored 12 goals and provided 3 assists in the league last term. Due to his height, he can win aerial duels and be a threat in set-piece situations. On an average, he has an aerial duel winning rate of over 55%.
Milinkovic-Savic can play as a number 10 or as a central midfielder with the freedom to move forward. He may just be an apt foil for either of Silva or Kevin de Bruyne. At 23, he has ample time to improve and become one of the best in the world.
Having played under Pep Guardiola hitherto at Bayern, Vidal would relish working with the Spaniard again. But the Citizens must act quickly as he has been linked with a move to Manchester United. The Chilean is a combative midfielder with a winning mentality and gives his all in every game.
The 31-year-old had a passing accuracy of over 88%. Vidal provided 26 key passes in 22 Bundesliga games last season. He can cover a lot of ground and can recuperate from his forward runs to protect the team from counter-attacks. The only negative about him is his rashness in certain situations.
Vidal is a player, who will add robustness and winning mentality to the City squad. But his age may act as a hindrance in the move.