‘Open and exposed’ – Man City urged to land new left-back in January; Guardiola identifies main target

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola alongside key target Valentin Barco

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola alongside key target Valentin Barco

Manchester City have been tipped to sign a new left-back in January, with summer signing Josko Gvardiol struggling to adapt to the position. 

The 21-year-old joined the Cityzens on a £78m deal in August after he put in some admirable performances for Croatia in the World Cup.

Gvardiol’s best position is as a centre-back but he has featured mostly as a left-back this season with Pep Guardiola preferring to play the likes of Ruben Dias and Nathan Ake in central areas.

The left side of defence has been something of a problem area for Man City in recent seasons. Guardiola doesn’t seem to trust Sergio Gomez. which is why Gvardiol has been forced to play there.

He has made 12 Premier League appearances this season and has only played as a centre-back on four of those occasions.

Now, it seems that Guardiola is looking to bring in a natural left-back in January and one player from South America is at the top of the manager’s shortlist.

READ MORE: Man City to spend their way past Arsenal and Liverpool with £50m-rated speed demon lined up for January

Kelly tips Man City to sign new left-back

Speaking on Radio Five Live’s Football Daily show, former Republic of Ireland international Stephen Kelly tipped Man City to bring in a new left-back this winter.

“I actually think City will identify left-back as a position they’ll bring in the January window or someone they’ll go and try to get,” Kelly said.

“Gvardiol in the World Cup was one of the best centre-backs, if not the best centre-back at the World Cup. He was sensational.

“And you’re playing him in at left-back where he’s doing stuff, I know he can play there and he has played there but he has to do a role that he’s not really used to.

“They’ve got an unbelievable amount of centre-backs that are excellent, you look at their positioning but you just feel like he, back in the centre will make such a huge difference.

“I think defensively, City have been a little bit, well… they have been open and exposed.”

Man City eye move for Valentin Barco

As previously reported by TEAMtalk, the left-back Guardiola is most keen on signing is Boca Juniors wonderkid Valentin Barco.

The 19-year-old, who is valued at around £10m, has made 34 appearances at senior level for Boca Juniors so far after emerging from within their own youth system.

One reason he appeals so much to elite clubs is his ability to play anywhere up and down the left flank, but it is mainly as a wing-back that he has gained gametime in recent months.

It has been suggested that Man City could loan out Barco to a Championship club should they sign him in January, with Leicester manager Enzo Maresca keen on bringing him in on a temporary basis.

The Cityzens could, however, opt to keep hold of Barco for the remainder of this season if they want an immediate solution to their left-back problems.

Barco is a target for several European clubs, but Man City are currently leading the race for his signature.

DON’T MISS: ‘Of course’ – Barcelona line up sensational move for Man City star, with former Chelsea man to follow