Despite a sticky patch of form in late November and early December, Manchester City find themselves firmly in the title mix. If the sky-blues win their game in hand, they will be just two points off leaders Liverpool.
Man City transfer targets, rumours and odds
To go the distance, however, City may need January reinforcements, as their squad has been stretched to breaking point already this season. Big deals are often hard to pull off in January, but City usually find a way to get things done and take advantage of market opportunities.
One of the biggest themes of Manchester City’s season so far has been their reliance on Balon d’Or nominee Rodri. The Spaniard has been the sole survivor of City’s treble-winning trio of last season, with Ilkay Gundogan departing for Barcelona, and Kevin de Bruyne missing the entire season through injury.
The defensive midfielder has delivered, screening the defence, providing a metronomic and progressive presence at the base of City’s attacks and weighing in with crucial goals. But if he is unavailable, City have struggled. When he was banned for grabbing Morgan Gibbs-White by the throat, City lost all three games he was absent for. With Kalvin Phillips not trusted and likely to depart, cover for Rodri is essential.
City are the league’s top scorers, and have not struggled for goals. But their depth in the front three is deceptively shallow. Erling Haaland has been as good as ever, but Julian Alvarez plays if he needs rest or is injured. Which is a fine substitution, but draws the Argentinian out of the deeper role he’s thrived in.
The wings are shared by Jeremy Doku, Jack Grealish and Phil Foden, occasionally Bernardo Silva too. City lost Cole Palmer and Riyad Mahrez, but only brought in Doku to replace them. As such, City could benefit from the addition of a versatile attacker who could play wide or centrally.
Man City transfer betting tips – Latest odds
Rumoured Man City signings in January 2024
Joshua Kimmich – 8/1
German-made Swiss army knife Joshua Kimmich has a contract expiring in the summer of 2025. The Bayern Munich man is still only 28, and has played all sorts of roles, something he learned when Pep Guardiola brought him to Bavaria in 2015. And with current Bayern boss Thomas Tuchel dismissing him as not having “ the DNA of a defensive six”, he may be willing to move.
Kimmich fits the City bill perfectly. He can provide cover for Rodri in deep midfield, but is also capable in advanced areas and at right back, is technically outstanding and is extremely intelligent. If this deal doesn’t happen in January, expect it to get done in the summer.
Florian Wirtz – 10/1*
Staying in the Bundesliga, City may try and steal a march on their European rivals for Bayer Leverkusen wünderkind, Florian Wirtz. The 20-year-old has five goals and seven assists in 16 league appearances with a move in January.
Wirtz has benefited greatly from the coaching of Pep disciple Xabi Alonso, and is a big part of why Bayer sit top of the league. Wirtz is extremely technically gifted, and could play as an attacking midfielder or wide attacker for City. This deal will be difficult to do with Leverkusen fighting for a title, but if any club has the financial firepower to bend the Germans’ will, it is City.
(*indicates our projected probability of a move happening)
Leny Yoro – 10/1*
With John Stones suffering an injury-checked season and Ruben Dias not at his usual level, City could look to reinforce at centre-back too.
Perfect could be 18-year-old Leny Yoro. The centre-back is having an excellent season at Lille, having made his debut at just 16. He is composed in possession and already possesses an imposing physical frame and sophisticated reading of the game. At 18, Yoro could be introduced gently and would not demand huge game time immediately.
However, such prodigious talent rarely comes cheap. And with other interested parties including Liverpool and Manchester United, Lille president Olivier Letang is reportedly set to demand €90m for the wonderkid.
Rumoured Man City departures in January 2024
Kalvin Phillips – 11/10
England international Kalvin Phillips is expected to leave in January, with Newcastle United reportedly leading the race. Phillips has rarely had a chance at City, with Pep seemingly not trusting him, despite shelling out £50m for him just last summer.
Plenty of other clubs have been linked with Phillips who is desperate to play ahead of EURO 2024, including Juventus, Spurs and even Liverpool. Provided City can secure another midfielder, Phillips will surely turn the page on this painful chapter of his career.
Sergio Gomez – 3/2*
Spanish left-back Sergio Gomez was brought in last summer for £11m from Anderlecht as a replacement for Oleksandr Zinchenko, but is now likely to leave, with Galatasaray staking out a loan move for him. The 23-year-old is happiest coming inside into midfield from full-back like the now-Arsenal man.
But City no longer tuck their full-backs into midfield as they used to, usually it is John Stones or Manuel Akanji pushing up from centre-back to partner Rodri in possession. This has led to a lack of opportunities for Gomez. Combined with some lacklustre performances, Gomez will likely leave on loan with a view to a permanent deal this month.
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