Manchester City culled their squad last summer with the likes of Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus sold, but there could be more to follow in January as Pep Guardiola looks to finetune his squad.
City made a rare transfer profit in the summer window, spending what now looks like a bargain €60 million on Erling Haaland whilst cashing in on Sterling, Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko to the tune of €140m.
City’s squad is thinner than in previous seasons as a result, and they went into the winter break trailing Premier League leaders Arsenal by five points. Pep isn’t one to panic, but for every Jude Bellingham arriving, there could be an Ilkay Gundogan leaving this winter.
READ: Man City star Bernardo Silva’s €50m offer
Football Transfers looks at five City’s possible January departures…
Bernardo Silva is a Guardiola favourite, just as able to dictate play from deep as he is wreak havoc from a more advanced role on the wing, but he has made no secret of his desire to join Barcelona and Pep has admitted he wouldn’t block his path.
Barcelona will need to sell before they buy, though, with the club suffering a group stage exit from this season’s Champions League and Bernardo rated at €79.6m per Football Transfers’ in-house algorithm.
Can Pep convince Bernardo Silva to stay? 🤔 pic.twitter.com/kbVx9sBRz8
— Football Transfers (@Transfersdotcom) August 5, 2022
Also attracting interest from Barca is Ilkay Gundogan, who will be available on a free transfer come June. The Germany midfielder will be more within the Blaugrana’s budget if they try to stave off the competition and sign him early.
City don’t really need to sell. But if they can acquire any of Toni Kroos, Jude Bellingham or Enzo Fernandez in January, they would be more willing to let Gundogan leave in the winter window.
READ: Man City ‘worried’ over new deal for Barcelona target
Still regarded as one of the best centre-backs in the Premier League, Aymeric Laporte has fallen down the pecking order at the Etihad after undergoing knee surgery, and has his work cut out to pull ahead of Ruben Dias, John Stones and Manuel Akanji in City’s defensive pecking order.
Yet another player coveted by Barca, Laporte is back to full fitness having played three of Spain’s four games at the World Cup, and will have many more potential suitors if Guradiol can’t promise him an upswing in first-team minutes.
More potential defensive deadwood can be found in Nathan Ake. The Dutchman’s versatility is useful – able to play centre-back and left-back with equal aplomb – but City’s recent €110m bid for Josko Gvardiol, which was dismissed out of hand by RB Leipzig – shows how precarious his position is.
Ake was linked with a return to Chelsea in the summer and the Blues could come back in for him, especially if they are beaten to Gvardiol.
A goal worth £41m from Nathan Ake? 💷pic.twitter.com/yUDkr6rJlE
— Football Transfers (@Transfersdotcom) May 1, 2022
Liam Delap is the son of former long-throw specialist Rory, but unlike his former Ireland utility man father, young Liam is an England youth international striker, who is currently on loan with Stoke in the Championship.
Looked like he might be Haaland’s first understudy at the start of the season, but Julian Alvarez’s rise – he of four goals as Argentina won the World Cup – has made that impossible. Southampton and Burnley are circling if Stoke don’t make his deal permanent.