Man City in 2021: Domestic dominance and European heartache
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Manchester City are gearing up for what could be a relatively eventful January transfer window after a summer which saw them recruit just one player. Granted, the £100million Premier League record signing of Jack Grealish is not your average arrival, but Pep Guardiola’s squad does lack in two key areas, while the Catalan may also be forced to address the issue of two wantaway stars. Without further ado, Express Sport brings you the Man City transfer roundup:
The forward has already come on leaps and bounds since his 2020 transfer from Valencia, particularly when it comes to his goals output.
But for a young Spanish star, who has dazzled for the national team in particular, the allure of a homeland return proved too tempting to turn down.
This campaign, Torres began as City’s most competent striker, but a serious foot injury has side-lined him since mid-October.
During that time, rumours snowballed regarding a potential move to work under Xavi at Barcelona, and while his talent suggests that he could have plenty more to offer the Sky Blues, the two sides have supposedly agreed a deal which could rise to £55million – almost tripling what City paid for him last year.
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If all goes to plan in Catalonia, Barca could pull off a sensational double swoop by pinching Sterling in the same window.
Having endured a tough start to the campaign, with confidence hard to come by and game time even more so, various reports, including from SPORT, indicated that the 27-year-old would be keen on a move away.
Barcelona were once again believed to be at the front of the queue, with experienced, talented attackers top of their hit list.
But a dramatic upturn in form, including three goals in his last three starts, has thrust Sterling straight back into the first-team picture under Guardiola.
And with left-wing rivals Jack Grealish and Phil Foden both getting on the Spaniard’s bad side for a recent night out on the town, it remains to be seen whether the winger has come round to the idea of staying in the north west.
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It is difficult to criticise City’s striker-less system given their status as Christmas Day table-toppers, but many have called for the signing of an orthodox frontman to at least give them an extra option.
Ferran Torres had deputised well through the middle this season, but he is still a winger primarily, and looks destined for a January exit.
Gabriel Jesus, who has spent the vast majority of his City career up top, has also transitioned into a winger this campaign, which may urge the Sky Blues to look towards Fiorentina’s Dusan Vlahovic.
Guardiola has maintained that the plan is to go for a striker in the summer, but with Vlahovic having declined a new contract, a number of top clubs are believed to be chasing the Serbian goal machine, including Arsenal and Tottenham.
If they are serious about getting him first, UAE-backed City may be most comfortable with his reported £68m price-tag, and the player himself may be enticed by the prospect of fighting for the Premier League title in 2022.
With a fully-fit squad, Guardiola has little to worry about at left-back with Joao Cancelo continuing to wow audiences and Oleksandr Zinchenko performing well when called upon.
But City are only a couple of injuries away from a left-back crisis, with Cancelo also the second-choice to Kyle Walker on the right and little in the way of natural back-up behind Zinchenko.
The likes of Benfica’s Alex Grimaldo and Arsenal’s Nuno Tavares have both been linked to the Etihad at one point or another, and coughing up to bolster their defensive ranks could represent smart business.
After all, when the title race is fought as closely as it has been so far this campaign, adding depth where needed could prove the difference between a Premier League crown and second place.
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