Is Bernardo Silva under pressure after Mahrez’s arrival?

July 18, 2018 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Transfer Targets 

Pep Guardiola finally landed his man this summer, with Leicester City forward Riyad Mahrez making the long-awaited switch to Manchester City. The 27-year-old has been angling for a move away from the Etihad Stadium for some time, but Leicester wouldn’t let him leave for less than his asking price.

Guardiola has pursued Mahrez for nearly 12 months despite boasting an attack that contains Gabriel Jesus, Sergio Aguero, Raheem Sterling, Leroy Sane and Bernardo Silva., so where will the Algerian international feature for City?

Silva was in and out of the team last season due to the form of Sterling and Sane, coupled with his own inconsistency. He may find himself fall behind Mahrez in the pecking order, as there’s a reason Guardiola was willing to spend so much on the left-footed right-winger.

Mahrez is tried and tested in the Premier League

There’s no doubting Silva’s quality, but the 23-year-old hasn’t made the most convincing start in the Premier League. At Monaco, Silva would drift past players with ease and would create multiple chances for his teammates per game. His final season in Ligue 1 side saw him contribute 17 goals in 37 appearances, but his numbers are all considerably lower in England.

He’s scored and created 10 goals in 35 Premier League games, making fewer than one successful dribble per game and creating less than one chance per game. Silva has made 20 appearances from the bench, such is the lack of faith from Guardiola, but Mahrez will likely succeed where the Portuguese international has failed.

Mahrez is already a proven talent in the English top flight, winning a league title in 2016 where he was named PFA Players’ Player of the Year. He’s scored and created 59 goals in his last 109 games and has all the qualities to shine in a Guardiola side – off-the-ball movement, composure in possession, great range of passing and a good eye for goal.

Silva wasn’t a regular first-team player last season and his hopes of getting more game time in the senior squad will take a big hit thanks to Mahrez. The two players operate in similar roles on the pitch, cutting inside from the right to create a chance or have an effort at goal.

Mahrez has a better goal output than the player four years his junior and has been far more impressive in regard to his overall performances in the Premier League. It doesn’t appear Silva will be sold so soon, but Guardiola signing more competition in his position speaks volumes about his chances of regular playing time.

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.

 

 

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

Guardiola isn’t giving up on trying to sign Mahrez

May 30, 2018 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Transfer Targets 

Despite having three separate bids rejected in January, Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola is still desperate to sign Leicester City forward Riyad Mahrez. The 27-year-old impressed for the Foxes last season and has made it clear that he’s open to joining a bigger club, so a deal was always dependent on the Sky Blues meeting his asking price.

City already have Raheem Sterling, Leroy Sane, Bernardo Silva, Gabriel Jesus and Sergio Aguero for competition in attack, but Guardiola wants strength in depth in all positions to challenge on all four fronts next season. The Manchester giants appear to have made a breakthrough with Mahrez too, all but agreeing a £60m deal for the 27-year-old.

Mahrez has big ambition and great mental strength

After helping Leicester City win the Premier League title in 2015/16 and being named PFA Players’ Player of the Year, Mahrez wasn’t interested in resting on his laurels. The Algerian international was already planning to move to a bigger club, but he was denied a transfer.

After handing in a request, he refused to play for Leicester but quickly made a U-turn and made 36 league appearances the following season. Mahrez once again tried to leave, realising his career would become stagnant with the Midlands outfit, but Leicester wouldn’t budge.

Leicester City forward Riyad Mahrez.

So, rather than strike again to force a move, Mahrez had one of his best-ever seasons, scoring and creating 23 goals in 36 league outings as Leicester finished in the top-half of the table. Now it appears City will let him leave this summer and it’s not hard to see why Guardiola pursued him for so long.

Mahrez has never rested on his laurels or been happy to settle, nor has he ever doubted his ability and potential. Even after being refused a move, he could still enjoy one of his best-ever seasons months later, so there’s no doubt the 27-year-old can hit the ground running in Manchester.

Bad news for Phil Foden, Patrick Roberts and maybe Bernardo Silva

If Mahrez joins, one or two existing players are likely to miss out. That could mean Phil Foden and Patrick Roberts have to be loaned out this summer to still get competitive football.

Bernardo Silva’s place in the side might be up for grabs too, with the 23-year-old having struggled in his debut season at the Etihad – 35 league games, six goals, four assists – so the Algerian’s arrival could be somewhat destabilising.

Manchester City forward Phil Foden.

Foden made only five appearances to pick up a Premier League winners’ medal last season and would have been hoping to feature more heavily after a year of being in and out of the first-team, but it looks like he’ll miss out. Roberts has made just three appearances since joining the club in 2015 and has been loaned out for two of those three years.

It’s hard to see him being in the squad next season, but Mahrez joining will make sure of it. Guardiola will have Sterling, Mahrez, Sane and Silva competing for two places in the City attack, so there may not be much room for any inexperienced youngsters. Nevertheless, Mahrez will improve the squad and could help City in their quest for European success.