Manchester City will be forced to act ‘quickly’ in their bid to beat title rivals Liverpool to new signings during the January transfer window, according to Ian McGarry – with Thomas Partey an early target.

Pep Guardiola’s champions have fallen ten points adrift of leaders Liverpool ahead of the Citizens’ trip to face Southampton in the Premier League on Sunday, with the pressure on City to make up ground on their rampant challengers.

Liverpool continued to set the pace with a thumping 5-1 win over Arsenal on Saturday, and it has been suggested that the Reds could do likewise in the transfer market. Transfer expert McGarry told the Transfer Window podcast, via the Express: “I’m told that City have enquired to Atletico Madrid about Thomas Partey.

“For me, he is one of the most exciting and most effective holding midfielders in European football at this moment in time.

“He would be my choice for Pep Guardiola in terms of bringing someone in going forward.

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“Remember that City were very much in the market for Fred, the Brazilian midfielder who signed for Manchester United in the summer, so this is not a position which Guardiola is just suddenly waking up to in terms of it being deficient.

“He’s been looking at this for a year now or more and unusually City have not really responded or reacted properly to this.

“However, I do believe that the losses to Crystal Palace, Leicester City and Chelsea, and the fact they’re trailing Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League, means that they will act and act quickly in January.”

City also lost out on the signing of Jorginho to Chelsea during the summer, with Guardiola’s pursuit of a new holding midfielder to provide an alternative to Fernandinho having proved fruitless.

Having only managed to sign Riyad Mahrez during the summer and with Liverpool likely to be active in the market once more in January, the champions may have to be more decisive and efficient with their business next month.