How will Manchester City line up next season after Lyon nightmare?
Manchester City are in a nightmare after their Champions League horror show against Lyon… so, where do Pep Guardiola’s side go from here in the transfer window and how do they line up next season in the Premier League?
- Manchester City crashed out of the Champions League on Saturday night
- The quarter-final defeat to Lyon shows more transfer activity is required
- Pep Guardiola has already made two new signings to improve his squad
- Nathan Ake and Ferran Torres have been brought in and with more set to arrive
- City want to add two more players – with Atletico Madrid’s Joao Felix on the radar
- Sportsmail looks at how Manchester City will line-up in the 2020/21 next season
Manchester City are feeling low after their shocking 3-1 loss to Lyon in the Champions League quarter-final on Saturday night.
But manager Pep Guardiola knows the new Premier League season begins in just under a month’s time and there is no time to dwell on their failings.
And with the summer transfer window now well underway, Manchester City’s mission to wrestle the title away from Liverpool and make a better challenge in Europe has already begun.
Manchester City were dumped out of the Champions League last eight by Lyon on Saturday
City’s squad is in desperate need of improvement ahead of a vital 2020-21 season for Guardiola, with the Spaniard given a £300million war chest to spend on new first-team stars.
Defender Nathan Ake and winger Ferran Torres have already moved to the Etihad Stadium, with Guardiola looking to add another centre-half and a new first-choice striker.
Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly has been widely tipped to be Guardiola’s next defensive purchase and the 29-year-old has been linked with a £60m transfer to Manchester.
Pep Guardiola has a £300million transfer kitty to splash out this summer, according to reports
And reports state that City are also after Joao Felix from Atletico Madrid, who could move for a £80m price tag. There will be exits from the Etihad too, with David Silva and Leroy Sane already moved on and defenders John Stones and Eric Garcia expected to join them.
If Koulibaly and Torres join Ake and Torres at the Etihad next season, Sportsmail takes a look at what City’s starting line-up would look like for the 2020-21 season…
STARTING LINE-UP (4-3-3)
His shocking flap gifted Lyon a spot in the Champions League semi-finals, but Ederson still has a safe spot in the Manchester City squad next term.
The Brazilian registered 16 shutouts in the top-flight last season, clinching the Premier League Golden Glove in the process.
If Ederson can iron out his errors – and there have been a fair few this term – then the 26-year-old could be targeting an even better league season next time around.
Ederson made some errors last season, but the Brazilian is still the first name on the team sheet
Right-back: Kyle Walker
Many feared for Kyle Walker’s future in the right-back slot when Joao Cancelo arrived from Juventus last summer, but the 30-year-old has managed to hold him off to keep his slot on the right-hand side of defence.
The pacy full-back played 29 times in the league for Guardiola’s side this season, registering four assists and scoring once.
And while his defensive frailties were exposed for Lyon’s opener on Saturday night, City’s other transfer priorities mean Walker should expect another season as City’s first-choice next term.
The quick and reliable Kyle Walker is expected to be City’s number one right-back next term
Centre-back: Kalidou Koulibaly
Manchester City need a centre-back duo to rival Liverpool’s partnership of Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez. The signing of Napoli’s Koulibaly will go some way to improving their back line.
The 6ft 1in defender has been a revelation for the Serie A side since his arrival in southern Italy in 2014. A potential £60m transfer for Koulibaly would see City’s defence step up a gear in quality and push liabilities such as Stones and Otamendi out through the exit door.
Koulibaly has already been part of one revolution, helping Napoli become a challenger for European spots and sometimes even the Scudetto – now he can be part of Manchester City’s transformation from title losers to title winners.
The arrival of Kalidou Koulibaly at centre-back would improve City’s defensive game
Centre-back: Aymeric Laporte
Despite the need for defensive reinforcements at the Etihad Stadium, Guardiola knows he has a safe pair of feet in French defender Aymeric Laporte.
A knee injury picked up in August last year limited the 26-year-old to just 15 league appearances all term, which weakened the club’s defence and therefore their title challenge.
If Laporte can stay fit for most of the league season, their chances of regaining their Premier League crown will improve dramatically.
Despite the need for a defensive revolution, Aymeric Laporte will keep his spot at centre-back
Left-back: Joao Cancelo
With Benjamin Mendy’s injury history a problem for Guardiola and Oleksandr Zinchenko not always comfortable in the left-back slot, Cancelo could deputise for the majority of the campaign on the left side of City’s defence.
The Portuguese defender needed time to settle in following his high-profile arrival from Juventus last summer, but the 26-year-old has still managed to register 34 appearances in all competitions last term.
City could be tempted to use Cancelo rather than splashing out on £80m-rated Leicester City left-back Ben Chilwell, who has also been linked to Chelsea.
Joao Cancelo can really tie down the left-back role next season if he shows consistency
Defensive midfielder: Rodri
Like Cancelo, Spanish holding midfielder Rodri needed time to get used to Guardiola’s style of play at the start of the season, but the former Atletico Madrid man started to show signs of improvement towards the end of the season.
The 24-year-old is the beating heart of the City midfield and enjoyed a passing accuracy rate of 92.6 per cent in the 35 league matches he played in last term.
While the Spaniard has to compete for a spot with Fernandinho and Ilkay Gundogan, his place in the team is pretty safe.
Spanish midfielder Rodri is the calm lynchpin in the City midfield to compliment their attack
Attacking midfielder: Kevin De Bruyne
Speaking of guaranteed starters for Manchester City, there is no spot safer in the City side than Kevin De Bruyne’s.
The Belgian is the best midfielder in the Premier League and his goal contributions will be the key to City’s title charge next term.
De Bruyne scored 13 goals and registered a record-equalling 20 assists in the top-flight last term and will be looking to add even more to his ever-growing career tally under Guardiola.
Kevin De Bruyne will be looking to improve on this season’s goal contributions tally
Attacking midfielder: Phil Foden
David Silva’s exit means City midfielder Phil Foden has a chance to become a regular midfield starter at the Etihad Stadium for the first time in his career.
His stellar display at the heart of City’s midfield in their Champions League victory against Real Madrid is exactly what the youngster can produce on a regular basis.
The 20-year-old has made 38 appearances for City this season, his highest number of appearances in a single season to date, but most of them came on the right-wing.
Foden knows that he needs even more appearances for Guardiola’s side if he wants to start for Gareth Southgate’s England team at next summer’s European Championships.
This could be the season where Phil Foden becomes a Manchester City first-team regular
Right-wing: Riyad Mahrez
Manchester City have plenty of options out wide, especially after the arrival of Ferran Torres from Valencia, but Algerian winger Riyad Mahrez is expected to keep his place on the right-hand side.
The 29-year-old has had his best season in City colours this season, scoring 13 goals in all competitions – a tally which included 11 in the league.
Mahrez’s ability to cut inside on his left foot before finding the opposite corner is a skill that few very Premier League defenders can deal with and his absence from the starting line-up in the Lyon quarter-final defeat shows how important he is to the side.
Riyad Mahrez will be looking to terrorise defenders with his wand of a left-foot next season
Centre-forward: Gabriel Jesus
City’s Brazilian forward has scored 23 goals in all competitions this season, including six goals in seven Champions League games.
An impressive return for someone who has had Sergio Aguero to compete with for the starting spot this term.
The most exciting aspect about Jesus’ potential is that he is still only 23-years-old and has plenty of time to improve.
While the Brazilian made a glaring miss in the Lyon game late on, he can still look back on this season with a great deal of pride. But with Aguero’s injury woes and Joao Felix a target for Manchester City, he needs to show he can be the main player in big matches.
Gabriel Jesus can now overtake Sergio Aguero as Man City’s number one option up front
Left-wing: Raheem Sterling
Raheem Sterling’s season should not be defined by his shocking miss in the dying moments of the Lyon game. The England star scored 20 Premier League goals in the 2019-20 campaign, just three shy off Golden Boot winner and fellow countryman Jamie Vardy.
Yet after watching former club Liverpool lift the Premier League title at his expense last season, Sterling needs to produce another good goalscoring season if City are to retake their crown off their rivals.
The 25-year-old will be looking to continue his development with Guardiola in his fifth season under the Spanish coach.
Raheem Sterling needs another sharp year ahead of next summer’s European Championships
Eyebrows were raised when Scott Carson joined Manchester City on loan from Derby County last season, especially considering he hasn’t played top-flight football in a decade.
But the 34-year-old is doing something right whilst sitting on the bench for Guardiola’s team, with reports claiming that Carson is set to earn another loan spell at the Etihad Stadium for next season.
Ederson isn’t exactly shaking in his boots though…
Scott Carson is expected to extend his loan deal with Manchester City for another season
City broke the bank for Nathan Ake, signing the Bournemouth defender for £41m, despite the Cherries’ relegation to the second tier this term.
But Ake is likely to provide cover for Laporte and Koulibaly, if the latter signs.
Left-footed centre-halves capable of playing at the highest level are not commonplace in the top European leagues, so the Dutch defender will have a role to play in Guardiola’s season.
Nathan Ake will be used as a back-up option despite his £41m transfer from Bournemouth
At 35 years of age, even Fernandinho would admit that his best days are behind him. His poor display against Lyon proves exactly that.
But the Brazilian’s ability to act as cover in both midfield and defence makes him a useful squad player in this City squad.
Fernandinho covered at centre-back while Laporte was injured and the face he was picked ahead of more natural options John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi shows how much Guardiola still trusts him.
Fernandinho can still do a job in the City first-team despite being 35 years of age
Pep Guardiola moved quickly in the transfer market to sign Valencia winger Ferran Torres, though City’s impressive options out wide mean the 20-year-old may have to settle for a spot on the bench.
Torres was signed for an initial £20m – which could rise to £37m – and was brought in to fill the void left behind by Leroy Sane, who joined Bayern Munich earlier this year.
The Spaniard can also play through the middle, but City are well stocked in that department as well.
Ferran Torres is another new signing who could end up on the Manchester City bench
Bernardo Silva’s role in the Manchester City squad has slightly diminished over the last two years.
The Portuguese international had a fine 2018/19 campaign, scoring 13 goals in all competitions to help the club lift their second consecutive league title.
But last term, Silva struggled to replicate the form of the previous year and only started 21 out of City’s 38 league games.
The 25-year-old will be grateful that Guardiola likes to rotate his side, or he would be firmly behind De Bruyne and Foden in the pecking order on this form.
Bernardo Silva needs to rediscover his form from the 2018/19 season if he wants to play
City’s record goalscorer had an injury hit campaign last season and still managed to score 16 goals. When the Argentinian is at his best, he gets into any side in the world.
But with Gabriel Jesus starting to show some promise and Joao Felix waiting to be snapped up by the rich Premier League side, the initial proceedings into the phasing out of the 32-year-old may start next season.
Is this the beginning of the end of Sergio Aguero as Manchester City’s main man?
If Joao Felix joins Manchester City this summer, it is likely that the young Portuguese wonderkid will be phased in by Guardiola upon his arrival.
But, at his best, the 20-year-old is as devastating as any forward in the top-flight and would be seen as the long-term replacement up front for record goalscorer Sergio Aguero.
The £80million-rated forward would not have the injury problems Aguero has, nor the goalscoring inconsistencies that fellow forward Gabriel Jesus possesses.
Joao Felix could be brought in as the long-term replacement for record goalscorer Aguero
Ferran Torres (Valencia) – DONE
Nathan Ake (Bournemouth) – DONE
Kalidou Koulibaly (Napoli)
Joao Felix (Atletico Madrid)
Leroy Sane (Bayern Munich) – DONE
David Silva (Released) – DONE
Eric Garcia (Barcelona)
John Stones (Arsenal, Chelsea or West Ham)
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