Sunday, November 29, 2020

City Bound? 3 stars who could be on their way to Manchester this summer

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Having to watch Liverpool lift their first Premier League title earlier in the week, there is no doubt that Pep Guardiola will already be making his plans for a title reclaim next season.

Although England’s top-flight might have only just returned from the enforced break, speculation has continued to surround the areas that the former Barcelona boss could be looking to strengthen this summer.

Announcing last week that German international Leroy Sane wants to end his tenure at the Etihad come to the end of the season, it appears that fans around the blue half of Manchester could have a long list of new faces coming through the door this summer.

Already securing the services of high-touted Brazilian youngster Yan Couto from Coritiba back in January, we have taken a look at three stars who could be on their way to the Etihad in the coming months.

Kalidou Koulibaly – Napoli

With many feeling that City’s failure to replace former skipper Vincent Kompany last year was a vital part in their title relinquishment, it is no surprise that Guardiola is actively in the market for a new central defender this summer.

While Fernandinho might have done an impressive job of deputising at the heart of City’s defence, they are desperate to find a long-term partner for defensive talisman Aymeric Laporte.

With Serie A outfit Napoli confirming that they believe Kalidou Koulibaly will be on his way out of Naples come the end of the season, the 29-year-old has remained on the radar of clubs from across Europe, including Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool.

However, with it appearing that the former Borussia Dortmund boss has turned his attention elsewhere, The Express are reporting that the Senegal international is expecting to join up with Guardiola this summer.

Helping Napoli lift that Coppa Italia last week, Koulibaly’s tenure in Italy has seen him gain a fearsome reputation from across Europe as one of the most sort-after central defenders across the continent.

With Gli Azzurri expected to demand roughly €80million (£72.5m) for his services, transfer guru Duncan Castles told the Transfer Window podcast that Napoli boss Gennaro Gattuso has told Koulibaly he will be moved on this summer.

“Gennaro Gattuso has been told Koulibaly will definitely be sold this summer and a replacement centre-back is coming in. Koulibaly himself is open to that, he’s ready for a change of environment and keen to move to the Premier League.”

Jadon Sancho – Borussia Dortmund

With Guardiola confirming that Leroy Sane sees his future away from Manchester and appearing to be inching closer to a Bayern Munich switch, could City be looking to bring back one of their former starlets?

Famously opting to leave the Etihad and take the then unusual route of moving to the Bundesliga, Jadon Sancho has only gone from strength to strength after joining Borussia Dortmund back in 2017.

Three years on from the 17-year-old who made the move to rural Germany, the fully-fledged England international is regarded as one of the most sort after talents across Europe after what has been another outstanding campaign for Lucien Farve’s side.

Only turning 20 back in March, the blossoming superstar has recorded over 100 senior club appearances and Sancho has recorded 17 goals and 16 assists this season, the third-best involvement in the Bundesliga.

While Dortmund director Michael Zorc might have ruled out their talisman leaving Signal Iduna Park, their comments regarding Sancho’s future back in March put clubs from across the continent on red alert, including Guardiola’s camp.

Speaking earlier in the year, BVB CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke admitted that the club won’t stand in Sancho’s way if he asks to leave.

“We will do our best to keep him as long as possible. We have a very good relationship with him. But if one day, he comes to see us and tells us that he wants to leave the club, then we will discuss it.”

Priced at 16/1 with 888sport to make the move back to the Premier League this summer, could a partnership of Sancho and fellow Three Lions’ teammate Raheem Sterling be enough to guide City back to their title?

Declan Rice – West Ham

From one fully-fledged England international who could be on his way to the Etihad to another.

While Manchester City might have brought central midfielder Rodri in from Atletico Madrid in what was a club-record signing worth £62.8million, Guardiola could be looking to strengthen his numbers in the middle of the park.

With the Spaniard confirming that they will not be in the market for an out and out number 10 with the red-hot Phil Foden set to take his place as the heir to David Silva’s throne, it is believed that most of the top-four are keeping their eye out for a holding midfielder.

Cue West Ham taliman, Declan Rice.

Watching West Ham still battling it out at the heart of a relegation scrap, the mood around East London remains at a season-low and the Hammers would have all but expected that the 21-year-old will be moving on if they cannot extend their Premier League status.

Cementing his spot as David Moyes’ MVP this season, Rice has gained a string of admirers after what has been a stellar 18 months with West Ham.

Arguably one of the most sort-after young English talents in the top-flight, the former Chelsea schoolboy is now a firm fixture in Gareth Southgate’s England squad and would have likely started at the heart the Three Lions’ midfield had to European Championships not been delayed for a year.

With local rivals Manchester United also heavily linked with a summer swoop for the versatile youngster, could City be looking to get one over on their old enemy and bring another one of England’s brightest starlets to the Etihad?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Dunstan


Formerly of The Independent, Tom is a freelance football and boxing journalist from Essex, England. Currently working for three online publications, Tom is a graduate of the University of Falmouth and has spent the last two years writing across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. He can be followed at @IamTomDunstan

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