Get your contract emojis and budget tally sheets ready because the football season is rapidly approaching its dramatic climax, which can only mean one thing: the true main event, the competition everyone genuinely wants to win, and the whole idea of the game, is rapidly approaching as well. We're on the cusp of the transfer window.
It's still a few months away, but you wouldn't know it from the mountains of conjecture and rumors surfacing online, Manchester City included. There is still a lot of work to be done this season, including the title race, the Champions League, and the FA Cup, but there is already much speculation about what Pep Guardiola's team might look like in the coming year.
Now, discussions have zeroed down on the meat of defense. It has been suggested that Aymeric Laporte, following in the footsteps of Joao Cancelo, will look to leave the club this summer due to his inability to secure a regular starting position. The Spain international has just played 15 times this season, but teams like Barcelona and PSG have already been linked to him.
Laporte has been a fantastic addition to the Blues' roster, helping them win four Premier League titles even though he played through a season-ending knee injury last year. Although his departure would be devastating to the team, it is well-established that City will not stand in the way of his departure for the proper price. Yet, with his talent and two years left on his deal, the asking price would have to be quite expensive.
The big-name City is eyeing a man they've seen firsthand as a potential successor. Next week in Manchester, Josko Gvardiol will try to silence Erling Haaland again after scoring the equalizer in the first leg of City and RB Leipzig's round of 16 matchups. The 21-year-old is one of the most highly regarded young defenders in the world, and he shot to notoriety during a great World Cup. Nevertheless, he tried to stand in the way of Lionel Messi's destiny, and he ended up looking like a damsel in distress as he got tangled up with the Argentine superstar.
Gvardiol seems like a great signing, but he won't come cheap. Leipzig boss Marco Rose remained defiant about his future last month: "As a coach, I want to work with the finest players because we want to grow things further. To put it simply, Josko is and always will be one of our players.
In addition, Leipzig can refuse to sell at all and demand an absurd price. The defender is under contract until 2027, and his €112 million buyout doesn't activate until 2024. This summer, Chelsea reportedly made a huge offer to sign him—€90 million—but failed.
Despite their seemingly endless financial resources, the Blues have been known to walk away from players whose demands are too exorbitant and to spend what they brought in from sales last summer, resulting in a tidy profit. It will be quite expensive for City to acquire Gvardiol. Wasted funds that could be put to better use.
The city has gotten by without Laporte for most of this season, so a new central defender wouldn't have to cost a fortune. Instead, they should prioritize midfielders with most of their transfer resources this summer.
The region has subtly aged and is in need of revitalization. In addition to llkay Gundogan, Kevin De Bruyne, and Bernardo Silva being free agents this summer, Kalvin Phillips has yet to prove he belongs at the Etihad and will be 32 next season.
Only Rodri and maybe a reformed Phil Foden remain as central midfielders on whom City can rely for the foreseeable future. Like last summer, when Guardiola let Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus leave and replaced them with Haaland and Julian Alvarez in attack, new blood is required.
And, as was the case last summer, Borussia Dortmund appears to be a clear choice. Jude Bellingham, still a teenager, is often regarded as the sport's next big midfield star because of the mature maturity with which he routinely performs. He'll command a price tag that exceeds that of Gvardiol, and top European clubs will surely be interested in him.
Just think of how much he could improve by studying under Guardiola. Think of how much he could improve if trained with City's A-listers. If he were to join City's team, just think of the possibilities.
There's a lot of chatter about the transfer window already, but City shouldn't lose sight of their goal, which is to triumph in what will undoubtedly be the summer's biggest transfer drama.
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