Manchester City are back doing what they are best at; winning football games with ease as they opened their title defence with a comfortable 5-0 win against West Ham United. Many regard them as the favourites to win their third Premier League title in a row, and nobody would be surprised if they managed to achieve that.
The club had a decent transfer window as well as they strengthened at right-back and in defensive midfield positions by signing Joao Cancelo and Rodri. However, one area where they might need to bring in one more option is the centre back position. The club failed to find a replacement for Vincent Kompany this summer, and Guardiola only has three senior centre backs at his disposal in the forms of Nicolas Otamendi, John Stones and Aymeric Laporte. Eliaquim Mangala recently departed from the club as well though he was never going to be in Guardiola’s plan for the season.
We expect the Citizens to look at new centre backs in January and here are three options they can consider signing.
The French defender has surprisingly fallen behind the pecking order under Valverde, and the World Cup winner has found it hard to get game time. Injuries were an issue for him, but he has recovered now. Umtiti could be a smart signing for the English champions. The former Lyon defender has decent defensive qualities, but he can play out from the back, which is very necessary to thrive in the Guardiola system. The 25-year-old is still a top prospect and City can consider moving in for him.
Another French candidate is in the list here as Kimpembe seems to have everything to his game to succeed in the Premier League. He is quick and agile, robust in his challenges and comfortable on the ball. The 24-year-old has come up from PSG’s academy, and he can be an ideal player for Guardiola. The defender has managed to establish himself at PSG as he managed 36 appearances in all competitions last season.
This will be more of a punt than signing a proven quantity. Manchester City have got three decent centre-halves so they might want to have a fourth one who could be a top player in a few years. Moreover, attracting top defenders without the guarantee of first-team football could be tough. Benkovic is currently at Leicester City, but he is yet to make his debut in the Premier League. The defender spent the last season on loan with Celtic where he impressed massively.
His on the ball qualities, physical attributes (he stands in at 6ft4) and reading of the game would make him a quality addition. He wouldn’t cost a bomb like the other two defenders in the list and City can develop him into a top option as he is still just 22.
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