Manchester City

Manchester City

Premier League • England

Unheralded name to take charge of Man City as Covid strikes for Pep and seven players

Pep Guardiola shouting from the touchline

Pep Guardiola will miss Manchester City’s FA Cup third-round tie at Swindon on Friday after testing positive for coronavirus, the Premier League club have announced.

The City manager returned a positive test on Tuesday, as did assistant manager Juanma Lillo, and the pair are now self-isolating. The club have also reported “a number of other positive cases within the City first-team bubble”.

Rodolfo Borrell, another of Guardiola’s assistants, will take charge of the team at Swindon.

City have not identified any of the other positive cases but have given details of the number of people affected.

A statement read: “This brings the number of those isolating for Covid-related reasons amongst the group to 21. Of that number, 14 are backroom staff with seven first-team players.”

Pep open to second Barcelona deal

Meanwhile, Pep Guardiola is reportedly open to a second Manchester City transfer deal with Barcelona if he can get Frenkie de Jong to head in the other direction.

The Spanish manager parted ways with forward Ferran Torres after he declared his desire to leave the club. The Catalan giants announced his signing this week, but are currently unable to register him to play due to their financial difficulties.

Regardless, there is further interest from Barca directed towards the Etihad Stadium. It recently emerged they want Aymeric Laporte.

Manchester City want to swap with Barcelona for De Jong

Man City want to swap with Barcelona, Laporte for De Jong this January

And as per a fresh report by El Nacional, City would be prepared to negotiate his departure in a swap deal.

In return Guardiola would seek De Jong, whom is he said to have a great admiration for.

The Dutch midfielder fits his mould. Although he’s a different player, his arrival would help ease the possible impending exit of Fernandinho.

His La Liga owners were said to be willing to let him go earlier this season. They have a number of young midfield talents and his exit would ease their wage bill.

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De Jong not looking for Barca exit

However, De Jong himself was said to be unsure about leaving the Camp Nou. And this latest report claims he is not looking to go.

He still has five-and-a-half years left on his contract with the club. Also, he has settled since joining from Ajax in 2019.

The other option for Barca would to be buy Laporte outright. That is a seemingly impossible task considering the state they are in.

The Spain international has struggled for game time in the two previous seasons. But he has featured heavily for Guardiola so far this season.

But City have Nathan Ake and John Stones as alternative partners for Ruben Dias. They will feel they would be able to replace him easily enough in the market.

READ MORE: Prem duo emerge as Man City chiefs cut Guardiola successor shortlist down to two