Manchester City have dominated the domestic football scene in England for the past two campaigns, but have been found wanting this season. Pep Guardiola’s side have fallen well behind Liverpool in the title race, leaving much work to do for the Cityzens ahead of the next campaign.
There is expected to be major activity at the Etihad once the transfer window opens. With that in mind, we take a look at the current Manchester City squad and assess who might stay at the club beyond the summer and who might not.
Ederson has grown into one of the best goalkeepers in Europe. The Brazilian is a pivotal player in Guardiola’s side.
The Chilean has never been able to nail down a spot at Manchester City since joining from Barcelona. At 37 years of age and his contract nearing expiry, Claudio Bravo’s time at the club is nearing an end. Arijanet Muric, who is currently out on loan, should become the second-choice goalkeeper.
Signed as the third-choice goalkeeper on loan from Derby County in the summer, Scott Carson hasn’t played a single game for City. Yet, with his contract at Derby expiring, Guardiola could opt to keep hold of the 34-year-old for another season.
A pivotal member of Guardiola’s side, his injury-enforced absence has been a major blow for City this season. There has been some interest from Barcelona to secure his signing in the summer. However, City wouldn’t want to start their title challenge next season by losing their best defender.
Verdict: Stays. Without a doubt.
Regarded as one of the best in England only a few years ago, John Stones’ fall from grace has been rather swift. Injury issues and a loss of confidence has resulted in a drastic reduction of his game time this season.
There are several Premier League clubs interested in signing him and Guardiola himself is eyeing defensive additions. But given Stones’ age and the early form that he had shown at the club, Pep might fancy giving him another opportunity rather than severely depleting his options at the back.
The erroneous 32-year-old has been preferred over John Stones at times this season and is contracted with the club till 2022. But with Guardiola looking to sign new defenders, it could be Otamendi whose name ends up on the chopping block given his age.
The 19-year-old has been used sparingly by Guardiola this season, but every time he has been given an opportunity, Garcia has done reasonably well. While he would have stood to benefit by a loan spell away from the Etihad, the youngster is likely to stay at the club and continue his integration into the first-team.
Signed amid much fanfare in 2017, Benjamin Mendy’s career at Manchester City has been blighted by injuries, one after the other. Nevertheless, when fit, the Frenchman is a great asset and has a future at the club.
The versatile Ukrainian hasn’t been at his best this season. But his adaptability offers great value to this Manchester City side. Having signed a long-term contract less than a year ago, he is going nowhere.
Another full-back who penned a long-term contract in June last year, Walker is a guaranteed starter week in week out for Guaridola.
Signed last summer from Juventus, it has been far from smooth sailing for Cancelo at Manchester City. The Portuguese hasn’t been able to displace Walker from the starting XI and hasn’t been used regularly by the manager.
This has led to speculations over his future, with City reportedly considering a swap with Barcelona for Nelson Semedo. Despite the rumours, Cancelo is someone who fits into Guardiola’s philosophy and the manager himself has claimed that the full-back is a long-term addition for the club.
The club record signing has stepped into the defensive midfield role and performed admirably in his debut season.
At 34, Fernandinho doesn’t have a lot of football at the top level left in him but the Brazilian has reinvented himself as a centre-back this season and has been a key player for Guardiola. Moreover, the veteran signed a new one-year contract in January earlier this year.
The German midfielder has thrived in the past couple of seasons under Guardiola, putting behind all injury issues that bothered him early on and signed a new contract till 2023 in August 2019.
The man who carried the creative mantle for Manchester City for the entire decade, David Silva is out of contract at the end of the season and has made it clear he wishes to return to Spain. Premier League will bid goodbye to a legend.
Kevin De Bruyne
The best midfielder in the Premier League without a doubt, De Bruyne has been the chief driving force behind Manchester City’s success under Guardiola. The potential lack of Champions League football for the next season due to the FIFA-imposed ban could prompt other big clubs to make a move. But a transfer at this juncture is extremely unlikely.
The man earmarked to replace David Silva in the first-team by Guardiola, Foden showed his class in City’s Carabao Cup triumph against Aston Villa in February. Expect more of the same next season.
One of the biggest beneficiaries of Guardiola’s mentoring, Sterling has turned into a world-class attacker under the Catalan coach’s tutelage. An indispensable member of this Manchester City side.
The German has hardly played this season due to injury, but is seen as a key member of the team by Guardiola.
However, Bayern Munich have made no secret of their interest in the winger, which could turn his head. Moreover, with his contract expiring next year, City might deem it best to offload Leroy Sane and reinvest in the summer.
The Portuguese’s form has experienced a slight dip in comparison to last season but his ability on the ball and the versatility he offers makes him a vital player for Manchester City. Bernardo Silva signed a long-term contract only last year.
After a rather dull debut season, Algerian Riyad Mahrez has stepped it up a notch this season and grown into a key player for the Cityzens.
At 31, Manchester City’s all-time leading goalscorer is still going strong. He has just one year left on his current contract but an exit at this stage is extremely unlikely. However, it is time for Man City to put in place a long-term succession plan for Aguero.
Having shown signs of potential for a number of years now, Gabriel Jesus has added the element of consistency to his game this season. He seems ready to carry the mantle of the club’s premier centre-forward if and when Aguero decides it is time to move on.
Feature image couretsy: AFP / Oli Scarff