Having lost the Premier League title to Liverpool this season by an enormous 18 points, Manchester City appear determined to strengthen heavily this summer in order to reclaim it. The club have already acted quickly to secure the services of the highly-rated young Spanish winger Ferran Torres along with much-needed defensive reinforcement in the shape of Nathan Ake. Despite this, the Citizens clearly still have unfinished business in the transfer market and are rumored to be targeting another centre-back, a left-back and a central midfielder. Here we take a look at their top targets for each position.
The Napoli defender certainly would not come cheap with a reported impasse between the two clubs as Man City value the Senegalese international at £65 million compared to Napoli’s asking price of £81 million. At 29 years old, City’s interest shows their determination to sign a marquee defender to immediately make an impact as a partner to Aymeric Laporte.
The club usually target younger players for Pep Guardiola to mold in his image but their defensive struggles have been so pronounced this season that a ready-made solution is felt to be necessary. The towering defender is not perfect, as shown by his clumsy display against Barcelona in the Champions League, but City feel he would bring an imperious presence and a natural sense of leadership which has been lacking since the departure of Vincent Kompany.
The 22-year old French midfielder fits well with City’s general policy of buying youthful potential and is seen as a potential successor to Fernandinho. Although he lacks the defensive quality of the Brazilian, he could still fulfill the duties of a holding midfielder because of his impressive range of passing. His quality was evident in Lyon’s 3-1 victory over Guardiola’s side and is likely to have increased their interest.
Les Gones are currently priced at 20/1 in the odds on football to win Ligue 1 next season but his departure would definitely reduce their chances of winning an already unlikely title, so they will be desperate to hold on to him.
At just 19 years old, the French left-back would represent an even more raw talent than his compatriot Aouar. City have struggled with the left-back position for a number of years because of the ongoing injury problems with Benjamin Mendy as well as the unconvincing performances of converted attacking-midfielder Oleksandr Zinchenko in the role. The Angers defender would represent a potential long-term solution given his age as well as having plenty of room for growth under the tutelage of Guardiola. Amongst other defensive teenagers across Europe’s top five leagues, Ait-Nouri ranks in the top five for defensive interceptions and the top ten for defensive duels won. His crossing is also considered to be a hugely dangerous weapon going forward. With rumors of interest from City’s neighbors Man United, the club will hope to act quickly to solve their ongoing problem position at left-back.
Although the Man City squad is still brimming with quality, it does have clear vulnerabilities in the back-line and an aging team in general. Torres and Ake already appear to be shrewd signings and the club will hope to make this a truly successful transfer window with further defensive reinforcements and an emphasis on youth. The club will be determined to prevent Liverpool from retaining the Premier League title in 2021.