By 90Min
June 23, 2019

Let's have a brief recap of what went down on the blue side of Manchester last campaign.

Second successive Premier League title? Check. Both domestic cups? In the bag. The Champions League trophy? Nope. 'Old Big Ears' continues to elude the Citizens, no matter how desperately they want it.

Now, a domestic treble is nothing to scoff at, but Pep Guardiola will not be satisfied until he delivers a European Cup to the Etihad Stadium. If he hopes to achieve his goal in the coming season, there are several positions he must take a look at in his side.

Here's our take on where the Manchester City boss needs to strengthen in order to bring home the quadruple.


New Back-Up Striker

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Gabriel Jesus and Sergio Aguero are both excellent forwards in their own right, giving Guardiola a choice between two frightening options to lead his attack. However, it only takes a slight knock for one and suddenly the striking department looks rather thin.

A third frontman is required to take some of the burden off of Aguero and Jesus when the matches start to come thick and fast, which is inevitable when battling on four fronts. But, who fits the bill?

Lyon's Moussa Dembele struck an admirable 15 goals in Ligue 1 last term and, at just 22 years-of-age, there is plenty of room for improvement. Under Guardiola's tutelage, the Frenchman could blossom and would cost considerably less than his alternative, the similarly-youthful Joao Felix of Benfica.


The Heir to Fernandinho's Throne

Fernandinho has been a superb servant for City and continues to dominate the midfield, but his tank must be running low as he reaches the twilight of his career. The 34-year-old is equally adept at destroying opposition moves as he is at building them for the Sky Blues, making it a tricky task to replace him.

Nevertheless, the Citizens' recruitment team appear to have come up trumps, with the capture of Atletico Madrid anchor Rodri all but secured. €70m is the reported fee, a sum which may prove to be a bargain if he can replicate the form he showed during his only year in the Spanish capital.

With the Atleti youngster and Fernandinho at his disposal, Guardiola will be spoiled for choice when it comes to the role of midfield enforcer, the position around which he builds his sides.  


A Partner for Aymeric Laporte

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Aymeric Laporte was a monster in 2018/19, rightfully earning a spot in the PFA Team of the Year. However, there was inconsistency when it came to who partnered the Frenchman at the back, with Nicolas Otamendi, John Stones and Vincent Kompany all getting their chance alongside him.

The latter seemed best-suited to the task, but has since called time on his City career, instead returning to Belgium. Kompany's departure should not signal alarm bells, though, as Leicester City talisman Harry Maguire is allegedly close to signing for the Premier League champions.

The England international is a perfect match for Laporte and together they would form a formidable partnership. The duo are tall and athletic, composed on the ball and capable of bringing it forward; effectively, they're both Pep's preferred type of defender. 

£65m for Maguire? Worst deals have been made.


A  Replacement for Nicolas Otamendi

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No, there isn't a centre-back crisis going on at Manchester City. However, Guardiola must be having to rethink his backline after reports that Otamendi is dissatisfied with life in the north-west, with Atletico lining up a move for the Argentine.

Nevertheless, the club have no need to spend big on a new central defender, especially given the figures being mentioned with regards to Maguire and Rodri. Tosin Adarabioyo is ready to step up for the Sky Blues and become the team's new back-up centre-back option.

He's confident, physically imposing and quick across the turf, whilst also offering an impressive array of passing. It's clearly worth giving him an opportunity.


An Improvement on Danilo

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Danilo has hardly been shambolic since his €31.5m switch from Real Madrid, though he is also not the calibre of player to fuel title challenges. If Guardiola's men are to navigate four different competitions successfully, they cannot have such a noticeable drop off in quality from a first-choice player to second.


Unfortunately, there is a clear gulf in class between Danilo and the go-to fullbacks, Benjamin Mendy and Kyle Walker. That is why Joao Cancelo is being brought in for the sum of €50m. Unlike his Brazilian counterpart, the Juventus defender will battle for a starting berth.


It sounds greedy, but City have both the funds and the motive to sign the Portuguese. This is top-level sport; it's cut-throat and fine margins decide the winners of major trophies. Ensuring there is no dip in ability from one player to the next can be the difference between collecting a quadruple and just the League Cup.


A Better Alternative to Claudio Bravo

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Arijanet Muric was hardly seen in 2018/19, despite spending the majority of the campaign as Ederson's understudy. However, he did get a chance in the cup competitions and looked solid if unspectacular.


That's not an issue. The cups are always awkward given their nature; these are one-off matches with little room for error. With that being the case, a reliable Muric is a far better alternative to a dodgy Claudio Bravo.

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