Former Manchester City winger Trevor Sinclair believes fans’ favourite Pablo Zabaleta will be a candidate for the exit door alongside Yaya Toure when Pep Guardiola takes charge of the Premier League side.
Current City boss Manuel Pellegrini announced he would leave at the end of the season on Monday, with the club quickly confirming outgoing Bayern Munich coach Guardiola would begin a three-year contract from 2016-17.
Toure played under Guardiola at Barcelona, during which time he lost his regular starting place to Sergio Busquets before signing for City in 2010.
The midfielder’s outspoken agent Dimitri Seluk responded to Guardiola’s appointment by predicting Toure will seek pastures new, but ex-England international Sinclair does not think he will be the only victim.
Right-back Zabaleta joined City in 2008 and established himself as both a cult hero on the terraces through his all-action displayed and a key performer in the club’s 2011-12 and 2013-14 Premier League title triumph.
But Sinclair, who represented his hometown club between 2003 and 2007, feels the 31-year-old Argentina international could be surplus to requirements along with playmaker Samir Nasri as Guardiola seeks to implement his trademark dynamic playing style.
“Yaya is the obvious one, Nasri you would expect him to be moving on,” he told Omnisport.
“Some of the older players – Zabaleta has been an absolutely brilliant player for Manchester City, as Yaya has.
“Zabaleta, he’s actually got an important part to play towards the end of this season.
“For a lot of fans here at Manchester City, he’s really in their hearts and he’s been an incredible servant to the club.
“He’s been so successful at the club but I think he might be one of the casualties.”
Should Guardiola seek to bring in players from his former clubs, Sinclair earmarked Bayern defender David Alaba as a man who could improve what has often been a flimsy backline for City this season.
“You think about players like Alaba, who could come in and bring that extra bit of zest and youthfulness to the defence,” he added.