Three transfer priorities that Man City could tackle alongside pursuit of Erling Haaland
There is only one name on Manchester City supporters’ minds when it comes to transfer targets, and that is Erling Haaland.
It’s widely believed that the 21-year-old striker will join City from Borussia Dortmund in the summer, but while some outlets have reported that the player has agreed terms with the Blues, MEN Sport understands that a deal has not been concluded yet.
Haaland aside, there are likely going to be other areas of Pep Guardiola’s squad that could do with a bit of strengthening this summer. With club captain Fernandinho set to leave and recent reports suggesting that Gabriel Jesus could follow, it’s unlikely that Haaland will be City’s only summer acquisition. So, what do the Blues need?
The department most obviously in need of refreshing is the midfield. With 36-year-old Fernandinho set to leave when his current contract expires in June, Rodri will be the only dedicated holding midfielder in the squad. The calm and composed way that Rodri plays means that he doesn’t often need to rest – he doesn’t tear around the pitch like Fernandinho used to do in the early days of the Pep era.
However, it’s unrealistic to expect the Spaniard to feature in 60-plus games a season, and if he gets injured or suspended then the Blues would be in trouble. The holding midfielder knits everything together in Guardiola’s side and plays a huge role in building attacks from the back. Whoever comes in will have to be content with sitting behind Rodri in the pecking order, but good enough to deputise when needed.
For years supporters and pundits alike have bemoaned City’s inability to sign a top-level left-back, so it’s possible that one might be on Guardiola’s shopping list. Joao Cancelo should probably now be considered as a left-back, rather than a right-back playing out of position, but depth in the position depends on whether Oleksandr Zinchenko is happy to play second fiddle again next term.
If he is, then City might consider buying a right-back instead. Kyle Walker’s multiple spells on the sidelines have hurt City this season, as technical quality and speed allow City to venture forward without fear of being hurt too much on the counter.
Walker will be 32 by the start of next season, so if City can find an understudy with the potential to replace the England international in a few seasons then they might be tempted to invest. However, much will depend on the development of CJ Egan-Riley, the academy full-back who people at the club believe has first-team potential.
With Arsenal pursuing Jesus and the Brazilian believed to be interested in a move, City could lose a versatile attacker capable of playing on both wings or in a central role. Julian Alvarez will arrive from River Plate in the summer, but there are no guarantees over how quickly he will adapt to Premier League football.
That aside, the future of some of City’s other wide players is also uncertain. Raheem Sterling was heavily linked with a move away from the Etihad last autumn, and while he has been in decent form in recent months it’s not clear whether he will commit to staying beyond the 2023 expiration of this current contract.
Riyad Mahrez’s situation is also unclear. His contract also expires in 14 months, by which point he will be 32. If City decide to cash in this summer then it seems likely that Guardiola will want to bring in another winger.