Manchester City now have their eyes on creating history after winning the 2017-18 Premier League title. However, with all their rivals improving and bolstering their own rosters, Pep Guardiola knows they can’t stay the same as last season.
The Sky Blues have already added Leicester City winger Riyad Mahrez in their ranks, but their summer work is far from over as Guardiola still has some weaknesses to address on his team to ensure they can compete in the Champions League and defend their title—something which the club has never done before.
Not to mention that City have to find possible replacements for Yaya Toure (released), as well as for Vincent Kompany and Fernandinho who are entering the twilight of their respective careers.
With that said, here are three players that Manchester City should sign this summer. We also named possible alternatives should they fail to ink the said prospects.
Benjamin Pavard (VfB Stuttgart)
Alternative signing: Toby Alderweireld (Tottenham Hotspur)
At 22 years old, Pavard is exactly the player Manchester City need in order to compete all while going young.
The French centre-back is often described as the perfect replacement for Kompany, who often frustrated Guardiola due to his injury history. Kompany made just 17 appearances for the club last season after sustaining numerous injuries, including a calf injury in August last year that sidelined him for almost three months.
Pavard has been pivotal for France in the World Cup, even scoring the equaliser as Les Bleus battled back from a goal down to take down Argentina in the Round of 16. It shouldn’t also be forgotten that he started every game for Stuttgart and was one of the main defensive anchors of the team that finished seventh in the Bundesliga last season.
Oh, and have I mentioned that Stuttgart conceded the second-fewest goals last campaign, only behind eventual champions Bayern Munich?
He is undoubtedly a young and exciting talent that should fit well at Manchester City with his ability to even move to a defensive midfield role.
Manchester City have already expressed their intention of signing Pavard and luring him to the Premier League. Nonetheless, according to the latest football news, the likes of Bayern Munich and Tottenham are also plotting a move for the France World Cup star.
Should City fail to get Pavard, however, Guardiola should take a look at Alderweireld who is already expected to leave Tottenham. Sure enough, Alderweireld is 29 years old and isn’t really an upgrade to Kompany, but having another proven veteran should be a valuable addition to a team looking for a title repeat.
Mateo Kovacic (Real Madrid)
Alternative signing: Miralem Pjanic (Juventus)
With the Jorginho deal falling apart, Manchester City now have their eyes on Real Madrid’s Kovacic.
Again, City are in dire need of a defensive midfielder, and the 24-year-old Kovacic is a prime candidate for the post.
Despite not regularly featuring for Croatia in the World Cup, he has impressed in the games he played in. Kovacic was unarguably the best player in their group stage game against Iceland and, in fact, completed all of his 79 passes in 80 minutes of action.
Additionally, he even managed to provide an assist for Ivan Rakitic in their 3-0 rout of Argentina despite coming in as an 82nd-minute substitute.
Kovacic has been struggling at Real Madrid, making only 37 starts in his three seasons at the Bernabeu. And certainly, he could use a fresh start somewhere else.
“I understand the situation, but because of that I believe the best thing for me would be to go to another club where I’d have the opportunity to play regularly as a starter,” Kovacic told Marca last month.
Los Blancos, though, are asking £80 million for the midfielder, a hefty price tag that may turn off Guardiola’s side.
Another option for City is Juventus ace Pjanic who can play several positions at midfield, though his price is another matter.
Eden Hazard (Chelsea)
Alternative signing: Thomas Lemar (Monaco)
Hazard is a long, long shot for Manchester City, but getting the Chelsea man will surely shift the Premier League betting odds back in their favour.
Manchester City have shown interest on the Belgian last May, and that should have only increased by now after Hazard’s spectacular showing in the World Cup that saw him lead Belgium to a third-place finish.
Hazard is quick, strong and a threat on the counter—game-changing qualities that City need to compete not only in the Premier League but also in Europe.
The Sky Blues could face strong competition from Real Madrid for Hazard’s service, and it’s unlikely Chelsea will be willing to make their English rivals stronger.
Thomas Lemar seems the more realistic option for Manchester City. The versatile Monaco forward is only 22 years old but has already appeared in 107 games and scored 22 goals for the Ligue 1 side.
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