Manchester City are preparing for a summer rebuild as Pep Guardiola already has his eyes on several talents from around Europe.
Guardiola’s side still stands a chance of winning the Premier League this season, but they haven’t quite lived up to the lofty expectations they have previously set for themselves.
They are five points behind Arsenal with 12 games to go. Guardiola is constantly looking to reinvent his side and a big star could depart the club this summer.
According to recent reports, Aymeric Laporte could be the next star to leave. His contract runs until 2025, although City are now assessing their options at the back.
The 26-year-old has only started in six league games this season and so a move does seem likely. It was only last year that Guardiola described Laporte as “incredible” following a victory against Leeds.
According to Sports Mole, City could look to fund a deal for Josko Gvardiol with the money they receive for Laporte. The RB Leipzig defender is one of the biggest prospects in Europe right now.
Having made a name for himself at the World Cup with Croatia, his reputation has continued to grow. Alongside Man City, the likes of Chelsea and Liverpool are also said to be interested.
Guardiola has altered his system throughout the season and has alternated between a back three and back four. Manuel Akanji and Nathan Ake have been their most used defenders this season.
Laporte will not be short of offers in the summer as the likes of Barcelona and Real Madrid are each said to be interested in a deal.
Man City’s other target
City are also looking to strengthen their midfield as Ilkay Gundogan’s future hangs in the balance. The German midfielder has been a popular player since arriving in Manchester in 2016.
He is now closing in on 300 appearances for the club, but could opt for a move elsewhere in the summer. His current contract with City is set to expire at the end of the season.
The same outlet has claimed that Adrien Rabiot is being considered by Man City as a replacement for the German. The French midfielder had previously been linked with Manchester United, but that move never materialised.
Rabiot will become a free agent in the summer and plenty of other clubs have been reported as interested. Both Liverpool and Arsenal have been linked with the midfielder.
This season he has featured in 21 league matches and has chipped in with seven goal contributions. He also impressed during the World Cup for his role with France.
The 27-year-old is just as useful off the ball as he wins an average of 1.8 tackles per game. For context, only Rodri has averaged more than this in the Man City squad this season.
Guardiola will be hard-pressed to find a natural replacement for Gundogan, but Rabiot would be a savvy move on a free transfer.