Transfer Talk: Recruitment drive set to take City to new heights
Erling Haaland's strongly-mooted move to Manchester City is dominating the headlines — but he is unlikely to be the only new face at the Etihad Stadium this summer.
Despite topping the Premier League table, the Citizens are still reeling from Wednesday night's Champions League exit at the hands of Real Madrid.
And that defeat could prompt the English champions into action when the transfer window re-opens as they look to dominate both domestically and on the continent.
So, ahead of this afternoon's match against Newcastle, we consider where Pep Guardiola's side could splash the cash over the next few months.
Touching on City's possible summer transfer plans in February, Guardiola emphasised the importance of keeping the team's "core" and "soul" together.
He said: "I don't know what is going to happen but the soul and the heart of the team is still young.
"To keep it for the next years is so important. You have to have a depth of squad with hunger. The core, the soul of the team has to stay as much as possible."
Though the Spanish tactician is absolutely right about the importance of continuity, that will not stop City trying to make their core even stronger ahead of the 2022-23 campaign.
Haaland could be one of two strikers to make their City debuts next term.
That is because 22-year-old Argentine sensation Julian Alvarez looks set to return from his loan spell at River Plate — the club where City signed him from in January.
With Raheem Sterling and, more recently, Gabriel Jesus both being linked with moves away from Manchester, there might well be a couple of additional attacking vacancies to fill at the Etihad.
The £14.1million man certainly looks up to the task, having registered seven goals and two assists in just 10 league games for River in 2022.
Replacing a legend
One of Guardiola's top priorities during the transfer window will be to replace Fernandinho, who has confirmed that he will be leaving when his contract expires next month.
A club legend, the 37-year-old Brazilian has been integral to City's success over the past decade.
Since the start of last term, the Citizens have played 36 league games with their captain and 36 without — and their win rate drops from 80.6% to 66.7% when he is not in the side.
Though Guardiola is supremely adaptable, he will simply have to replace his team's midfield lynchpin.
City may also want to start thinking about a successor to another midfielder, Ilkay Gundogan, who will be 32 when his contract expires next summer.
As such, the upcoming window could be the ideal time to bring in a younger, similarly versatile operator who puts in the hard yards in the middle of the park but also provides plenty of threat in the final third.
A potential target could be Bologna's £17m-rated Sweden international Mattias Svanberg, who the Citizens were believed to be keen on earlier this year.
Left short at left-back
With only one out-and-out left-back at their disposal (Oleksandr Zinchenko — and even he is a converted midfielder), it is not surprising that City are reportedly considering doing business in that department.
Right-footed Joao Cancelo has been a revelation playing as an inverted left-back but Guardiola is short of natural options if he wants to switch things up.
Valencia captain Jose Gaya could be one man in the frame for a move to Manchester — but whoever comes in, City's track record with recruitment suggests they will be a success at the Etihad.