Following Jude Bellingham’s decision to join Real Madrid, here is who Manchester City should target next.
The Jude Bellingham transfer saga is finally over. Or at least it seems like it is.
Following two years of speculation about where the next big midfield gem would go following his spell at Borussia Dortmund, it appears the Englishman has made a decision. Reports yesterday suggest that Bellingham is very close to agreeing to a move to Real Madrid, with the Spanish giants hoping to finalize everything by the end of this month.
If the rumors being told are true then it appears that Manchester City have missed out. The story of the last two months was that Bellingham was choosing between City and Real before eventually picking the Spanish capital for his new venture.
With the reigning English champions needing depth in midfield and uncertainty surrounding key players in those positions, here are the three options to replace the Jude Bellingham signing from least to most most likely.
The three options Manchester City can look at with Jude Bellingham out of the picture
3. Alexis Mac Allister from Brighton & Hove Albion
It is no surprise to see the Argentinean linked to Manchester City. Following his impressive World Cup winning campaign, Alexis Mac Allister has been nothing short of spectacular for Brighton since returning from Qatar.
In fact, he was already well on his way to his best season on English shores before new manager Roberto de Zerbi added a new dimension to this already overachieving team, leading Brighton all the way to 8th at the time of writing.
The signing on paper makes a lot of sense. A player who is being allowed to leave by his club following his most productive season in England and only 24 years old, Mac Allister can play a number of roles in the midfield and already plays a similar brand of football at Brighton.
He could cover for the departure of Ilkay Gündogan or Bernardo Silva if either were to leave and could even cover for Rodri if need be. He’s a complete player who is full of confidence and is only going to get better as time passes.
The reason why he is the least likely to join is because Liverpool seem to have a head start on nabbing his signature. It appears the Reds are close to signing him and would want to wrap the deal up in May or early June.
As much as this move makes sense, we have seen City pull out if there is going to be a bidding war for a player. Brighton are probably looking for around 70 to 80 million for Mac Allister’s services, who still has another year on his contract, which prices City out of a move. There is still a chance he puts on a Manchester City jersey come August but as of right now, it is highly unlikely.
2. Double down on what we have
Manchester City’s squad depth is something that is always marvelled at by rival clubs. Despite City using the least amount of players in the current Premier League season, the squad’s ability to play a number of different positions allows City to rotate players all around the pitch without skipping a beat.
With a potential treble coming to Manchester, it might be smart to simple double down on the talent at our disposal rather than try and bring in new faces. Ilkay Gündogan only has two months left on his deal but would be a huge loss due to his leadership. Sign him at whatever cost.
Bernardo Silva has long been flirting with a move away but he is still contracted until 2025. Unless a sizeable bid of 80 million plus were on the table, there is no way that City would simply allows Silva to go, especially since he is still one of City’s key players.
While this does not solve the depth issue, there are a number of youngsters excelling in the Championship who could make a key difference. Both Tommy Doyle (21 years old) and James McAtee (20) have played out of their skin to secure promotion for Sheffield United back to the Premier League.
They were also key in an FA Cup semi final run for the Blades who unfortunately ran into Manchester City at Wembley. We also often forget about Cole Palmer, who is probably either due a move away or consistent minutes. Maxi Perrone was signed in January and we can only expect him to get better with more time under Pep Guardiola.
It isn’t the most glamorous solution but City have the depth and upcoming talent to be fine for another season without a massive reinforcement. The issue with this fix is that it is high-risk as we are unsure whether these youngsters will hit or if either of our established midfielders stay.
If it were to work though then City’s midfield crisis would be solved for the next 10 years.
1. Mason Mount from Chelsea F.C
Probably the solution that will get the most hate from City fans, Mason Mount is easily the best ‘replacement’ for Jude Bellingham this summer. At just 24 years old, he still has a lot of football left to play in his career and it is clear that Chelsea fans have turned their back on him.
The abuse he has received has been so bad that he’s had to deactivate Twitter. That’s no way to treat your star academy product, who is conveniently running out of his contract in 2025. With the ridiculous amount of talent that is rotting away at Chelsea, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Mount want a move away.
As things stand, Chelsea have failed to re-sign him to a long term deal. He is supposedly close to signing a new one but that has yet to materialize. With the Blues languishing below the top 10, maybe it is time for Mount to take a step up.
There are two factors that could still prevent this move from happening. First, Liverpool are also reportedly interested in the England international. This could affect City’s hand in how much money they are willing to fork out but since Liverpool appears so far into the Alexis Mac Allister talks, it is unlikely they’ll be able to afford both midfield talents.
The second factor is if Mauricio Pochettino becomes the new manager of Chelsea. Based on his track record, Mount would be the perfect player to play in a Pochettino system given the success that players like Christian Eriksen and Dele Alli had under him. Being the face of the new (new, new, new) Chelsea project could entice him to stay home.
For a price of around 50 to 60 million, City would not only be getting a player who can contribute right away but could even be the potential replacement for Kevin De Bruyne once he starts to slow down. He is the perfect blend of effort, quality, and production that City could use for the next 10 years if Mount were to join the side.