Manchester United and Liverpool are in a battle to deprive Manchester City of one of their biggest promises, according to a report.
City, United and Liverpool are frequently among the favourites for the Premier League title. They will be challenging each other again this year, both on and off the pitch. And their efforts are with long-term success in mind, meaning future planning is always important.
City are keen to see some of their academy talents progress into the first team. Phil Foden has written the blueprint to follow after becoming a key player and England international. Pep Guardiola feels he has more in the pipeline.
One player with high hopes at the Etihad Stadium is midfielder James McAtee. The 19-year-old has been compared to ex-City hero David Silva in style.
Guardiola recently gave him his senior debut in an EFL Cup clash with Wycombe Wanderers last month. There have been no further appearances for the Salford-born starlet since.
According to The Sun, there are now growing fears from the blue half of Manchester about McAtee’s long-term future.
His contract is due to expire in 2023, but City want him to commit for many more years to come. As things stand, though, he has not yet agreed to the new terms.
The proposed new deal would likely last until 2026 and pocket him around £8,000 per week. However, interest from elsewhere is causing a delay to the process.
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Worryingly for City, McAtee is of interest to two of their main rivals, Man Utd and Liverpool.
Seeing him end up at either destination would be a bitter blow for City given their plans for him. But a chance remains that he could end up wearing a red shirt of either of their rivals.
It could mark a repeat of the situation that saw City lose striker Charlie McNeill to United in the summer.
McAtee was also of interest to Brighton in the summer, but City’s resisted their advances. They are not yet completely fearful of losing him, but the longer things drag on, the less it suits them.
Star has City transfer dream
In better news for the defending champions, one top-class star has issued a come-and-get-me plea in their direction.
There are very few areas of the City squad that would require any strengthening. But they are always alert to potential opportunities in the transfer market.
One player who has been on their radar for a while is centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly. And the Senegal international recently revealed he would consider City as a next destination if he leaves Napoli.
“If I decided to leave Napoli, I would only do it for two, maximum three clubs in the world. I’m talking about [Pep] Guardiola’s Manchester City, Real Madrid and Barcelona at the most,” he said.
“Me at Juventus? Are you crazy? I would never play for another Italian club. I would never go to Juventus, I would not betray the Napoli fans.”
Koulibaly would likely not come cheap if City were to resurrect their interest in him. But as one of the best defenders playing in Europe, this will not be the last time he is linked with a big transfer, even at the age of 30.
Whether in their attempts to keep a youngster like McAtee or to sign an experienced pro like Koulibaly, City clearly have decisions to make regarding players at all stages of their careers.