Only just over a week has passed since the January Transfer Window closed, but Manchester City are being linked with a number of defenders who may arrive in the Summer.
Since the departure of Vincent Kompany and the injury suffered by Aymeric Laporte, Manchester City have looked suspect in defence. Other players have come in, but no one has realistically staked a claim and instead City have appeared vulnerable, which has in part contributed to being 22 points behind League leaders Liverpool.
John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi have systematically failed to impress, leaving a shadow hanging over their Etihad careers. That has forced Pep Guardiola into fielding 19 year old Eric Garcia more heavily than he may have intended.
Right now with the League title having long since evaporated, fans are clamouring for Guardiola to rely more heavily upon youth than out of form older players, hoping to build for next season rather than chase shadows in this one.
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Given how far in advance City tend to plan their transfer business it is not a surprise that reports are beginning to emerge concerning the three centre backs that the Club appear to be targeting at this stage for Summer recruitment. There is even the suggestion amongst some commentators that City are actually in the market for two centre backs and a left back!
Right now the first name on the list would appear to be Inter Milan player Milan Skriniar. Skriniar is a 24 year old Slovakian who is at the heart of what is currently the best defence in Italian football. Reports have even suggested that City have already had a £65 million bid turned down for the player.
It is looking likely that this commanding defender, who joined Milan from Sampdoria for £30 million only a couple of years ago, will break the transfer record for a defender when he moves. Whether that will be to City is unclear as there are other suitors, but given he is under contract as an ambassador to Puma, it could be the sponsor could help smooth this deal.
What may also help is that Inter Milan remain keen admirers of want away City full back Joao Cancelo, meaning there is even the outside possibility of a swap deal of some sorts on the horizon.
The second name on the list has long been linked to City, and this is Ruben Dias. Dias is younger than Skriniar at just 22 years of age and currently plays for Benfica. The path from Benfica to City is well trodden and Dias shares an agent with other City players such as Bernardo Silva, Nicolas Otamendi and Ederson.
Dias is established as a Portugese International player and is a lynchpin in the Benfica defence. His performances regularly draw scouts from major clubs and any move is likely to result in a bidding war between rival clubs, meaning any deal will no doubt be in the region of over £60 million.
The final player on the centre back list is apparently French player Dayot Upacameno. There have been less reports linking this player to City so far but plenty of stories indicating he will likely move to a so called “big club” this Summer.
Upacameno is just 21 years of age but his performances at the centre of the RB Leipzig defence this season have drawn lots of attention and suitors. Measured and assured in possession, his statistics in tackling and interceptions are among the best in Europe.
For City a chance to play the right sided French centre back Upacameno alongside the left sided French centre back Aymeric Laporte presents an interesting proposition, which may well appeal to both players in the months ahead.
Upacameno is also likely to cost north of £70 million but again, that may prove to be a shrewd investment in the years ahead. Certainly all of these players are around 6 foot 2 inches tall, meaning we could even prove to be a threat at corners!
In the months ahead, it will be worth watching the transfer sagas begin to play out, but given City are rumoured to be looking to add 5 players in the next window, it is likely all business will be concluded early.