Who can City sign in a bid to challenge in the Champions League?
By Peter Hampshire, Fri 26 May 2017 14:56
Pep Guardiola looking to strengthen Blues squad over the summer
City fans, prepare for an exciting summer. Pep Guardiola’s first season in England was never going to be easy but the Blues have now secured a top four finish – guaranteeing Champions League football at the Etihad Stadium next year. And with Guardiola, a two-time winner of the competition at the helm, City can mature into a competitive force in European football. In order to challenge for the Premier League title and the latter stages of Europe’s elite club competition, City will need to invest heavily and astutely this summer. We take a look at four candidates who could move to Manchester ahead of what could be a memorable campaign for Guardiola and the Blues...
The Claudio Bravo experiment hasn’t exactly gone to plan this season and Pep may attempt to sign a proven, experienced Premier League goalkeeper – Butland fits the bill. In 42 Premier League appearances, the 24-year-old has kept 14 clean sheets whilst making 142 saves. If Stoke City are willing to negotiate a deal for the keeper, City may be interested in bringing the England youngster to the Etihad before the transfer window slams shut. Stoke boss Mark Hughes has already warned off potential interest in Butland, claiming that only a fee in excess of £50 million will be considered. While that may seem a little high for a goalkeeper, he could be City’s number one for the next decade and a reliable pair of hands between the sticks would help City in their bid to challenge on multiple fronts.
With Pablo Zabaleta on the verge of leaving City, Guardiola will be in the market for a solid replacement at right back. Tottenham Hotspur star Kyle Walker has been the best full-back in England for the last couple of years and a move to one of the Premier League’s elite clubs could be on the cards. At just 26 years old, he has already racked up close to 200 appearances in England's top flight, winning 107 of those encounters. Walker, an England international, could be a difference maker as City look to rebuild their relatively weak defensive unit. If the 26-year-old performs at his brilliant best, his reliability and consistency at the back will offer some much-needed support as well as providing a genuine threat going forward. According to The Mirror, a bid of £40 million might be enough to tempt Spurs to sell him this summer.
Source: Kyle Walker via Facebook
If City are serious about competing for European glory, they need to sign players who have experience of winning football’s biggest prize. Sanchez, formerly of Barcelona, would be a valuable asset for City as they look to compete at the top. Fortunately, European kit omens may be on their side. A recent study found that teams wearing plain jerseys have won 17 of 27 finals against those wearing patterns. So if the Blues did go up against Sanchez's former suitors, past history suggests that City could emerge victorious - and Sanchez's influence would certainly help their chances. Sanchez has carried Arsenal’s hopes at times this campaign, netting 23 Premier League goals – the third-highest figure in the top flight. The Chile international has hinted at a move away from the Emirates Stadium this season and Arsenal missing out on a top-four finish could be the determining factor ahead of a busy summer for the Gunners.
Source: Arsenal via Facebook
Europe’s hottest prospect has been linked with the best teams on the planet and City will do their utmost to sign the 18-year-old before the end of August. According to reports, Monaco have already rejected a bid of over £100 million for the youngster and the Blues might have to pay an extortionate sum of money to acquire his signature. Sergio Aguero featured against Watford on the final day of the campaign but continued uncertainty over his long-term future at the club means that Guardiola could look for a new striker this summer. Mbappe, who notched 13 goals in his final 17 appearances of the campaign, has been simply sublime in recent months and his efforts in the double header against City may have been enough to tempt Guardiola to move for the youngster this summer.