Manchester City are selling 11 players
The Champions League play-offs lacked goals. They grabbed Holand from other buyers to do so. “Manchester City will pay €60m to Borussia D for the Norwegian’s transfer, but almost as much went to Erling’s family and Raiola’s agency. It’s a solid deal, with the Norwegian securing the ideal conditions for himself, as a €150m buyout option will be activated in 2024. If he plays, he stays, if not, Perez is already saving his money.
Julian Alvarez, signed for €17m, should join the team. Therefore, Guardiola is not keeping Jesus in the squad. The Brazilian moves to Arsenal, his transfer will bring €52m. Add €55m for Ferran Torres and it’s a good deal. Took Holland for €60m, gave as much as €49m to his entourage and the heirs of the Raiola empire, but got an interesting young forward from South America and the coolest young centre-forward in Europe.
126 million euros given, 107 back. Not bad, given that Alvarez and Holand’s potential is higher than Torres and Jesus. It’s also important to understand that the payments to Erling’s entourage are broken down by year, as is Barcelona’s payment for the Torres transfer. No one transfers such wild sums from one account to another at one point, because there are UEFA regulations and taxes. Any club in the world, getting the Erling-Julian combination for €126m, would be happy.
Manchester City’s status as favourites to win the league and the APL champions allows for such deals. Marez, Foden and Grealish remain in the team and, most importantly, De Bruyne is delighted to have signed Holand, as he has long dreamed of having a classic forward. Kevin is at odds with Guardiola on this issue. Talk of the Belgian leaving for Real a couple of years ago also revolved around the scheme. The playmaker needs an addressee, got two at once.
Found a replacement for Rodrigo
Fernandinho has left to make more frequent appearances for his new club. The team will have a new captain and Rodrigo needs a replacement in midfield. The Spaniard has spent plenty of time on the pitch, with an unusual season ahead of him, torn by the World Cup in Qatar, where Spain are one of the favourites for the second tier. Manchester City’s central midfielder will be busy on two fronts, with people needed in the centre.
Guardiola is not such a big fan of rotation that everyone who appears in the central three will be happy with their role. Especially with two places taken – De Bruyne and Rodrigo will remain in the starting line-up. They need someone to replace him and as this is Manchester City, they can afford a reserve player for €52m along with bonuses. Phillips has been spotted in the England squad, given a year at Leeds to evaluate over the distance.
Bielsa and Marsh’s team struggled to retain a place in the APL, with Phillips suffering a hamstring injury in December and missing three months and many Leeds games. He did not transfer to another United side, Manchester City. However, he accepted the deal with Guardiola. The chances of him being a key player are frankly low. But Josep had his backs covered, a pure destroyer was needed. And because Calvin is excellent at tackling, the job was done. The England player is risking his place in Southgate’s team, but he understands that.
The fate of Gundogan and Bernardo Silva, on the other hand, is a mystery. Ilkay is being called up to Newcastle, but it is unlikely the German wants to go there. Bernardo Silva, as Guardiola said, is not happy and that is always a reason to think about parting ways. Of course, Barcelona can’t afford a transfer for the Portuguese, they don’t have €80m. But Silva is open to negotiations, he did not deny it. If Gundogan leaves, either Foden will move down or Phillips will get a place in the top three. Or use a backup option – Guardiola has been testing Zinchenko as a central midfielder.
Strengthening the flanks of defence
Manchester City are happy with Zinchenko’s attitude to the job and usually put him up as an example. Walker wrote: “Keep Alexander in the team, affects his ball handling and improves his game by coming on as a substitute”. But the Ukrainian is stronger in the passing game than as a defender. In the centre of defence, though, Guardiola is doing well – Ederson is protected by Dias and Stones, Ake is ready to be loaned out to another club, but the Dutchman has formed a tandem with LaPorte as a substitute.
Cancelou and Walker shared the right-back position, with the Portuguese settling in on the left. But Guardiola has an eye for a player he has known for a long time. Cucurella is a pupil of Barcelona. His hometown club did not believe in him, passing Alba on the way to the starting line-up. On the other hand, the left-back has proved a master of playing for modest clubs. At Getafe he earned the attention of Brighton, and after adaptation in the APL interested the champion and the favourite.
While Sporting have picked up Pedro Porro for €8.5m and West Ham and Arsenal are interested in Zinchenko, Guardiola’s analysts have studied Cucurella’s methods. The player needs to be brought up to Champions League semi-final or final level, but the curly-haired Mark is competent in defence and attack. Has played for the incredibly closed down side of Getafe. In the AFL he has confirmed stability, although he is only twenty-three years old. Like Phillips, has outgrown the mid-table level and deserves a chance.
Will earn around €250m
All bets are logical. And fit in with the objective of earning as much as they spend so that there are no unnecessary questions from UEFA afterwards. A realistic target if Holand, Phillips, Alvarez and Cucurella are the main money spenders and Sterling, Jesus, Gundogan and possibly Zinchenko and Bernardo Silva bring in money for the club after notable sales. Add the transfer of Torres, not forgetting that there are a lot of unexpensive youngsters on contract with MC – Bazun, Edozi, Herrera and Rodgers, who are also scheduled to be said goodbye to.
They will collect a total of around €250m. Since 2005, Manchester City have not had a season where expenses are less than transfer revenues. After seventeen years, it’s a good idea to think about saying goodbye to people who are too cool to sit on the bench. Also about spot reinforcement of problematic positions. Additionally, the emergence of athletically brash men capable of playing in the Champions League not like Grealish, but like Hollande.
Guardiola’s plan is not secret, he cares about motivation, so it’s not just Sterling who will leave. There will be a back-up in the supporting area. Trying to find the perfect left-back for Cancelou to play on the comfortable right wing. A new duo of classy and versatile forwards in attack, as Holand often has minor but nasty injuries, Alvarez will come in handy in the application, if not in the base. Like Liverpool, MC remain favourites in every tournament they take part in and are one step away from assembling the ideal squad to storm the Champions League.