Manchester City, in their first season under Pep Guardiola haven’t managed to reach the heights that many expected them to at the beginning of the campaign.
The Citizens find themselves at 4th place in the league standings and face a fight to qualify for the Champions League, with cross-town rivals Manchester United squeezing in the pressure from the below. Their European campaign too did not get going to the levels that were expected of when the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager took over, as they crashed out of the UEFA Champions League in the round-of-16 stage against Monaco.
The squad that Guardiola had at his disposal this season has failed to deliver. Many players are on the wrong side of the age and have been struggling to fit into the way the Spaniard wants his team to play. A summer of rebuilding will be absolutely necessary if Guardiola is to bring glory days to the Etihad in the future. There will be quite a few number of players expected to come in while several could be headed for the exit doors as well. Here are the two transfer ins and outs that should definitely happen at City in the summer.
The Frenchman has been the weakest link in the Manchester City defence this season and his lack of pace has been heavily exploited by the opponents.
The 31-year old has featured 33 times for the Citizens across all competitions but has struggled to make any meaningful contribution to the team’s cause, with just 2 goals to show for. His defensive side of the game has been put to test time and again by the opposition wingers. Clichy has looked way off the pace this season and it feels like age is catching up with him. Guardiola relies heavily on his full-backs to aid the attack and with the Frenchman struggling, it is very much likely that Clichy could be forced out of Manchester City.
The summer signing arrived amidst much controversy surrounding the forced exile of first-choice shot-stopper and fan favourite, Joe Hart. But things have failed to take off for the Chilean and he is another one who could be on the way out in the summer.
The 34-year old Bravo has featured in 27 games across all competitions for the Sky Blues across all competitions and has kept just 7 clean sheets, conceding 32 goals in the process. His time with City has been blighted by high-profile errors one after the other, which has seen Guardiola discharge him of his duties in favour of Willy Caballero. After his struggle-filled year, it would not be surprising to see Manchester City sell him at the end of the season.
If the error-prone Claudio Bravo is forced out of the team, it naturally opens up space for bringing in a new shot-stopper into the fold, and Guardiola doesn’t have to look farther than Sunderland’s Jordan Pickford.
The 23-year old Englishman has been the only shining spot of a season full of struggles for the Black Cats and has impressed with his great reflex saves that has spared David Moyes’ side from more embarrassing scorelines on many occasions. Pickford has played 25 times this season so far and has kept just 4 clean sheets, but it is something that has much to do with a leaky defence in front of him.
Pickford has the potential and the ability to succeed at a bigger stage and with Sunderland heading for the drop, a move wouldn’t be too hard to complete if City come calling.
With Aleksandar Kolarov and Gael Clichy both struggling to impress at left-back this season, signing a new left-sided full-back will be at the top of the priorities for Guardiola and Manchester City. And one man who would fit the bill perfectly for the Manchester club is Celtic’s Kieran Tierney.
The 19-year Scotsman has been a standout player for the Bhoys this season and has already won two domestic honours. Tierney has made 33 appearances across all competitions, scoring once and assisting 12 more. An explosive full-back, the Scottish international loves to bomb forward at every opportunity. He has the pace and the defensive nous to stay solid at the back as well.
At 19, Tierney has shown performances that belie his age and by the looks of it, he is ready to make the step up to the bigger leagues and City would be extremely lucky if they manage to get their hands on such a huge talent.
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