With the arrival of Pep Guardiola at Manchester City following a disappointing season, which saw them scrape a 4th place finish in the Premier League, it promises to be a very active summer at the Etihad.
İlkay Gündoğan has already arrived from Borussia Dortmund to bolster the midfield and here are five more potential targets.
The Everton youngster is another centre-back that is likely to be on City’s radar. He didn’t have a brilliant season at Goodison, making several errors that cost his side goals to highlight that the former Barnsley man is still a work in progress.
However his composure, reading of the game and ability on the ball make him the ideal centre-back for a Guardiola team.
Pep after all has been happy to essentially convert midfielders like Javier Mascherano and David Alaba into centre-backs at his previous two clubs. That may be tougher to do in the more direct Premier League, where defenders need an aerial presence and in Stones, he might find the ideal compromise with someone who can pass the ball out of defence but also compete in the air.
The Athletic Bilbao centre-back is highly sought-after following another solid campaign in La Liga and the Europa League for the Basque club.
He has been widely linked with a move to Manchester City this week with the English side said to be ready to meet the 22 year old’s €50 million release clause.
Like Stones, he is young enough that he could be used as a bit-part player initially, coming into the side during the increasingly common injury absences of Vincent Kompany before ultimately developing into the Belgian’s long-term successor.
If Manchester City are looking for a signing that will really signal their intent to compete with the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid and Bayern over the coming years then Paul Pogba would be it.
Juventus are said to be privately preparing for his departure and the Frenchman is certainly the biggest name that is realistically going to be on the market this summer.
At 23, he is the most exciting young talent in world football and is already an established top class performer having excelled for Juventus over the past few seasons.
It may take close to a world record fee to capture his services, but money has never really been a problem for City and they would most likely be willing to stump up the cash to sign a player who could be the team’s star for many seasons to come.
A more easily attainable target might be Thiago Alcántara. Some players follow coaches around and Alcántara is clearly a favourite of Pep’s going all the way back to his time with Barcelona B, while he made the Spaniard one of his first signings when he took over at Bayern in 2013.
Early suggestions he could again move with Guardiola to Manchester were denied but as the summer rolls on, it would be no surprise to see new life breathed into this potential transfer.
Guardiola has always tended to prefer ball-playing midfielders in the central holding roles and the likes of Fernando, Fernandinho and Fabian Delph are more athletic types who won’t necessarily fit well into the new-look City.
Thiago Alcántara has had his problems with injuries over the past couple of years, but was still one of Bayern’s better performers last season and he’d surely give the team something that Guardiola craves and City don’t currently possess.
The Celta Vigo winger has had a sensational season in La Liga and is someone who seems to get better every year after a slow start to his career under Pep Guardiola at Barcelona.
He is someone who wouldn’t cost a great deal now but having netted 4 times in two friendlies for Spain this week he could end up being one of the stars of Euro 2016 and although he turns 30 later this year, he is yet to be fully appreciated outside of Spain, something that could change this summer.
The wing positions have been a problem for City this season with neither Raheem Sterling or Jesus Navas really doing enough to justify their place in the side. Nolito possesses a bit of extra flair that would make him at the very least a really dangerous substitute to throw on, but in truth he is better than that.
Having netted 39 goals in 102 league games for Celta Vigo, predominantly as a left winger, he would be a genuine source of goals to support Sergio Aguero, who City have become a bit too dependent on in that regard.
Written by Mark Sochon
Follow Mark on Twitter @tikitakagol
Check out his brilliant blog on all things La Liga, Tiki-Taka-Gol!
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