Pep Guardiola will be taking the hot-seat in around a couple of months’ time, but don’t expect him to preserve the skeleton of an underachieving Manuel Pellegrini side. There has been a certain lack of turning around in terms of transfers in the past two seasons. But with the former boss quietly watching his new side floundering, and struggling to cling onto Champions football he is sure to wring the changes.
In his three seasons at the helm at Bayern Munich, the Spaniard has acquired some of football premier names in world football. Mario Gotze, Medhi Benatia and Robert Lewandowki have all joined under the Guardiola regime, to much success is must be noted. Here are a few names Pep may look to offload before building his next European powerhouse.
The former Barcelona captain has worked with plenty of gifted forwards during his time on the side-lines. Wilfried Bony may not join this list. There has been terrace chatter of the Ivorian departing in search of regular first team football for months, and his wish could be granted with the change of manager. His physical presence and lack of clinicality would not play to the strengths of Guardiola’s tiki-taka system, although we could soon see much more of the ever developing Nigerian starlet Kelechi Iheanacho.
Guardiola has employed the 4-3-3 during the majority of his time in Bavaria, thus needing a bundle of energy to occupy his midfield trio. While Fernandinho will offer the stamina and defensive quality required, I do wonder whether his range of passing will let him down. If David Silva is able to retreat into the centre of midfield he could act as the creative enforcer for Pep’s first season in Manchester. But with the enigmatic midfielder turning 30 a few months ago, a fresher face may be drafted in to replace the ageing Spaniard.
City’s defensive fragility has been a talking point among supporters and media alike since their inaugural title win in 2012. Many names that were to supposedly fix the back four woes have stumbled in and out the Etihad doors since the magnificent trophy was lifted. Stefan Savic, Kolo Toure, and even Bayern Munich’s three time Bundesliga champion Jerome Boateng haven’t fulfilled the standard.
Now, Eliaquim Mangala and Nicholas Otamendi are the names in question, and we are only months away from finding out whether Guardiola thinks they are tough enough to partner the squadron leader Vincent Kompany. While Mangala has steadily improved in the past year, Otamendi has been a liability at the back, and has failed to gel with any of his defensive partners. Maybe the introduction of one of Europe’s most successful coaches will light the fire, or just maybe it could be the end of the road for the Argentine.