Gunn and Zinchenko could be moved on permanently by Man City this summer

June 29, 2018 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Transfer Rumors, Transfer Targets 

Manchester City goalkeeper Angus Gunn and midfielder Oleksandr Zinchenko could be sold this summer, with the pair having little chance of getting regular first-team football next season.

The Sky Blues could be selling and loaning out more players than they bring in this summer, but the money generated could help to get some big deals over the line.

Southampton would be good move for Gunn

Gunn spent 2017/18 out on loan with former side Norwich City and is unlikely to dethrone Ederson as first-choice ‘keeper under Pep Guardiola. Claudio Bravo should remain the Brazilian’s back-up next season, meaning Gunn will be forced to move to continue his development and it appears that a permanent deal looks on the cards rather than another loan.

Southampton are reported to be in talks with City over a £15m deal for the 22-year-old who has yet to make a first-team appearances for the Sky Blues. Gunn is highly-rated and kept a respectable 16 clean sheets during his loan spell with Norwich last season. He’s also been called up to the England national team, although he’s yet to make an appearance.

Gunn would be a loss to City given his obvious potential, but if game time is going to allude him in Manchester, he has to seek out assurances elsewhere. Southampton are well known for developing young talents and may well give Gunn a chance from the start next season due to their issues between the sticks.

Mark Hughes’ men conceded 56 goals in the Premier League last season. Alex McCarthy and Fraser Forster shared the goalkeeping responsibility. If a No.1 isn’t set in stone ahead of 2018/19, Gunn stands a chance of working his way up the pecking order.

Right move to sell Zinchenko

Further reports have suggested City midfielder Zinchenko is available for sale. The 21-year-old joined from Ufa in 2016, spent his debut season on loan at PSV Eindhoven before returning to his parent club and being used sparingly by Guardiola.

Zinchenko was often utilised as a makeshift left-back and left wing-back, a role that was previously alien to him as a central midfielder and chances were few and far between anyway. The Ukrainian international made just six Premier League starts last season, spending the majority of the campaign as an unused substitute or being left out of the matchday squad entirely.

City are believed to have received offers between £10m-£20m for his signature, but there’s no deal on the horizon with a suitor just yet. Zinchenko might be considering his future at the Etihad, as Benjamin Mendy, Danilo and Fabian Delph stand in his way at left-back, while Ilkay Gundogan, Kevin de Bruyne, Fernandinho and David Silva are ahead of him in the midfield pecking order.

If City can sell Gunn and Zinchenko for a good amount this summer, the money could be reinvested into transfer funds to help Jorginho’s move from Napoli and Riyad Mahrez’s move from Leicester City.

Still no progress being made by Manchester City on the transfer front

June 25, 2018 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Transfer Targets 

It’s been more than six weeks since the 2017/18 season came to a close and Manchester City are no closer to making their first signing of the summer.

Manager Pep Guardiola only has two transfer targets in mind – Jorginho from Napoli and Riyad Mahrez from Leicester City –  but he’s struggling to strengthen two areas the Sky Blues are weak in.

Lack of depth in midfield

Yaya Toure left the club at the end of his contract this summer and will be in need of replacing as City aren’t blessed with much depth in midfield. David Silva, Fernandinho and Kevin de Bruyne were regulars in the first-team last season, with Ilkay Gundogan providing adequate cover. Fabian Delph is also a midfield back-up, but he’s played more exclusively in defence under Guardiola.

City appear to have identified the player they want to come in for Toure – Napoli’s Jorginho. The Brazilian-born Italian international has made 160 appearances in all competitions for the Serie A giants and is one of the best central midfielders available in the summer transfer market.

Jorginho is a combative deep-lying player who is also composed in possession and able to create chances all over the pitch, so it’s easy to see why Guardiola is so keen to bring the player to the Etihad Stadium. Unfortunately, City and Napoli can’t agree on a transfer fee, says the Manchester Evening News, which is why there’s been no progress.

Another attacker wanted

And despite having Gabriel Jesus, Sergio Aguero, Raheem Sterling, Leroy Sane and Bernardo Silva in attack, City are after another forward player who can score and create goals. They’ve been after Riyad Mahrez since January, initially failing with a number of bids before giving up and trying again this summer.

Once again, the two clubs had been unable to agree to an asking price and The Sun say his move from the King Power Stadium to the Etihad was being held up due to his demand for a slice of the £75m deal. Guardiola has narrowed in on two players this summer, but both are being held up at the negotiating stage which won’t please supporters.

Time is running out for the Sky Blues to get the deals over the line too, as the summer transfer window shuts on Thursday, August 9 at 5pm, giving them just over five weeks to strengthen the squad for next season’s title defence – City won the Premier League title with 100 points last season.

 

 

Why are Manchester City so desperate to sign Jorginho from Napoli?

June 7, 2018 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Transfer Targets 

After Manchester City were reported to be in advanced talks with Napoli over Jorginho, president Aurelio De Laurentiis revealed on Sunday that they had rejected a £44m bid from the Sky Blues for the Italian international’s signature.

According to Sky Sports, City have been keen on Jorginho since April and could pay a lofty asking price to bring him to the Etihad Stadium this summer. With Kevin de Bruyne, David Silva, Fernandinho, Ilkay Gundogan and Fabian Delph as his options in midfield, why does Pep Guardiola want Jorginho so much?

A worthy replacement for Fernandinho

Guardiola has a lot of midfielders in the City squad, but there’s nobody who can replace Fernandinho. The Brazilian international protects the backline and snuffs out any danger in the middle of the park, while also threading attacks and retaining possession.

Signed from Shakhtar Donetsk in 2013, the 33-year-old has gone on to make 231 appearances in all competitions for City, winning two Premier League titles and three League Cups. Fernandinho was an unsung hero as the Sky Blues won the league title with 100 points last season. He averaged a tackle or interception every 26 minutes and made 88 passes-per-game with a 90% completion ratio.

Manchester City and Brazil midfielder Fernandinho.

He’s contracted with City until 2020 but Fernandinho is undoubtedly in the eve of his career and will need a long-term replacement. Jorginho looks to be that play. For Napoli, he sits in the middle of a midfield trio, protecting the backline without the ball and pulling the strings when in possession.

Like Fernandinho, Jorginho excels at turning over possession, averaging a tackle or interception every 24 minutes in the Serie A, but combative qualities aren’t solely enough for a Guardiola side – players need to be comfortable on the ball with speed of thought and good improvisation.

Qualities in possession make him a perfect fit for City

Jorginho isn’t just a defensive midfielder, he’s a player with fantastic vision who seldom relinquished possession. The Italian international always has his head up, looking for runs from his teammates. He can pick out any pass from nearly any distance and has the ability to put chances on a plate for others – creating 49 chances in 33 Serie A games last season.

At Napoli, Jorginho thrived having willing runners from wide areas to pick out when he was in possession. He’ll enjoy playing for Manchester City for the same reason. Guardiola’s men play direct when turning over possession to catch their opponent on the counter, utilising the pace from Raheem Sterling, Leroy Sane and Gabriel Jesus to turn defence into attack in seconds.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola is desperate to sign Jorginho.

And given City build their attacks from the back, often racking up a lot of passes in the middle third, having a player comfortable receiving the ball in tight areas and being able to improvise is essential. Jorginho is exactly that.

He racked up 97 passes-per-game on average for Napoli in Serie A last season, completing 90% of them. Guardiola might have to pay top dollar to secure his signature this summer, but he may be worth it.

Pep Guardiola only wants two additions to the Man City squad this summer

May 31, 2018 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Transfer Targets 

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola is reportedly only looking to make two signings this summer. After the Sky Blues won the Premier League title with 100 points, finishing 19 ahead of second place, it could be argued they barely need to strengthen.

Guardiola isn’t one to rest on his laurels, however, and will always be thinking ahead to ensure his squad is the strongest it can possibly be going into the season. He wants one replacement in every position in case of injury or a dip in form and there are two players on his shortlist who would complete City’s squad.

Mahrez will complete Man City’s attack

Leicester City forward Riyad Mahrez looks on his way to the Etihad Stadium and will join Raheem Sterling, Bernardo Silva and Leroy Sane in the attack. The Algerian international has been a long-term target of Guardiola’s and would certainly add to the squad.

The 27-year-old scored and created 22 goals in 36 Premier League games last season and could be a more tried-and-tested option than Bernardo Silva who was inconsistent in his debut season for City and started only 15 of his 35 appearances. Mahrez is an upgrade, based on their comparative performances in the league.

Jorginho will eventually replace Fernandinho

So, Mahrez will complete the attack and Jorginho might be completing City’s midfield. The Napoli star is expected to sign for the Sky Blues this summer and would be an immediate replacement for Yaya Toure who left at the end of the season and a long-term replacement for 33-year-old Fernandinho.

Jorginho is a defensive-minded player who averaged a tackle and interception every 24 minutes in the Serie A last season, while creating 49 chances and making 97 passes-per-game – completing 90% of them. It’s not hard to see why Guardiola is keen on the 26-year-old.

Having someone comfortable in possession who can create chances and also break up the play is essential to City, and it will mean they have healthy competition for the holding role next season.

How Man City will line up next season

Assuming Guardiola sticks to a 4-1-2-2-1 formation next season, Manchester City may not make any notable changes to the starting lineup of 2017/18.

Ederson should remain between the sticks, while Nicolas Otamendi and Vincent Kompany partner each other at centre-back. John Stones and Aymeric Laporte will feature heavily at times too. Kyle Walker will keep his place at right-back while Benjamin Mendy should replace Fabian Delph at left-back.

Fernandinho should keep his place as the holding midfielder, although Jorginho will be given a lot of playing time if he signs for City as expected. Ilkay Gundogan will also be competing for minutes.

David Silva and Kevin de Bruyne will continue their midfield partnership, but a combination of Jorginho and Gundogan will be used when the pair need a rest. Guardiola may feel he needs one more midfielder.

Raheem Sterling was outstanding last season and will keep his place in attack, with Leroy Sane complimenting him on the opposite flank. Gabriel Jesus should get the nod ahead of Sergio Aguero up front, as his off-the-ball movement and industry fits Guardiola’s philosophy.

Man City XI for 2018/19: Ederson, Kyle Walker, Nicolas Otamendi, John Stones, Benjamin Mendy, Fernandinho, Kevin de Bruyne, David Silva, Leroy Sane, Gabriel Jesus, Raheem Sterling