Manchester City are currently in the transfer market for fresh centre-backs as Pep Guardiola aims to fix what it panned out as a leaky defence this season. The void left by Vincent Kompany, injury to Aymeric Laporte and the inconsistency of John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi made the Cityzens vulnerable at the back – even the likes of Norwich and Southampton made a meal of it. Arguably, Man City were productive in all the aspects, but it is undeniable that their defence cost them the league title.
Post the return of football, Guardiola has often fielded the youngster Eric Garcia, whom he has put a lot of trust on despite Barcelona links, and Laporte but still the results were fair to middling. Those are mainly due to Laporte’s rustiness, and it is admissible considering his injury layoff. Garcia has shown enough promise and is the defender for the future should he opt not to move to Camp Nou. Barca see Garcia as a future successor to Gerard Pique.
Here are the three central defenders who Manchester City could sign this summer:
1. Nathan Ake
The Bournemouth defender has been heavily linked with a move to the Etihad this summer, with the reports stating that Cityzens are closing in on a deal. The Dutch centre-back has become a prominent fixture for the Cherries since sealing his switch permanently from his boyhood club Chelsea in 2017. The Blues are said to have a buy-back clause for the 25-year-old although the fee remains uncertain. However, Man City have the upper hand in Ake’s transfer as they are said to be negotiating a fee in the region of £35m with the Cherries.
2. David Alaba
David Alaba is one of the sought-after names in the transfer market after it has been reported that Bayern Munich are likely to let him off the hook this summer. The 27-year-old can act as a left-back and a centre-back, and excels with the ball at his feet – a quality Guardiola always looks up to his defenders. Alongside Man City, Barcelona and Real Madrid are also said to be keeping track of the Austrian defender.
3. Jose Gimenez
The Atletico Madrid star is the latest one to emerge on City’s radar, but the transfer looks far fetched given his £100m valuation. Also, the Rojiblancos are unwilling to let go of the Uruguayan unless his entire valuation is met. The 25-year-old has been holding together the defence of La Colchoneras since joining them in 2013. Gimenez could be the solution Guardiola is searching for, but his sumptuous release clause makes his transfer a less likely one.
Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibally and Sevilla’s Deigo Carlos are other names City have been linked with ahead of the transfer window.
Guardiola is poised for an overhaul in the defence ahead of next season as Cityzens can spend up to around £150m in the transfer window.