Manchester City have edged closer to the signing of Athletic Bilbao centre-back Aymeric Laporte by agreeing to pay the £60m release clause. The Frenchman has already informed the club officials about his interest to leave the club and is set to board an Etihad flight all the way to Manchester in the coming week.
Pep Guardiola sacrificed one of his longtime pursuits, Alexis Sanchez to make the funds available for the transfer of Laporte. The former Barcelona manager is enjoying his best season with Manchester City now that they are perched high and mighty at the top of the Premier League table.
Their campaign is alive in all four competitions including the two domestic cups and the Champions League and Pep wants to win the quadruple. Judging by the way the team is placed and the quality they have showcased so far into the season, critics will have to take a second before denying the Spaniard’s ambitions.
The defensive backline has suffered a bit with Benjamin Mendy going down to a long-term injury and Vincent Kompany failing to maintain his fitness for a run of games. But Pep has found a replacement in Fabian Delph on the left-back with John Stones making a return from his stint on the sidelines.
However, on Laporte’s arrival, the team will see a few changes for the remainder of the season and this is how the Citizens’ strongest lineup will look like.
Formation : 4-3-3
Ederson has been remarkable in between the sticks and has adjusted quite well to the pace of the English game. The youngster has relied on the leadership of Nicolas Otamendi and Kyle Walker to make the transition easier.
Laporte is expected to replace Stones in the back four alongside Otamendi. A cover will be provided from the flanks by Walker on the right and Danilo on the left. Mendy will be the best option to replace Danilo as soon as he recovers.
Fernandinho holds the anchor position brilliantly and is very disciplined in his role. He allows Kevin De Bruyne, Ilkay Gundogan and David Silva to formulate the attacks with complete freedom.
De Bruyne and Silva pairing is the best option for Pep with Gundogan and Bernardo Silva filling in as rotational options.
Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling have completely changed the perspective fans and critics had over them. The young duo can appear from either of the flanks and is expected to continue doing so for the remainder of the season.
Kun Aguero has struggled in recent times but is the only option in the lone striker role with Gabriel Jesus currently nursing an injury.
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