Pep Guardiola is not expected to strengthen his Manchester City squad in January – despite his side falling off the pace in the Premier League title race.
As reported by the Daily Mirror, the Spaniard is said to have told his scouting team and executives at the club that he does not wish to pursue new signings when the winter transfer window opens in two weeks’ time.
Instead, Guardiola is believed to be holding out on making big name signings during the next summer transfer window once the 2016/17 season has come to an end – a decision which may prove costly for City in their attempts to win the Premier League crown this term.
The Citizens have won just four of the last 10 league matches since the start of October, and have fallen seven points behind pace setters Chelsea ahead of the packed festive fixture period. With Antonio Conte’s men due to play 24 hours earlier than City on the last weekend before Christmas too, Guardiola’s charges could even end up 10 points off their rivals as the New Year rolls into view.
The Mirror claims that Guardiola will not scour the market for an extra midfield body despite Ilkay Gundogan being sidelined for a number of months after the Germany international suffered a knee injury in the 2-0 victory over Watford on Wednesday.
Guardiola’s priority in the summer, it is also alleged, lies with strengthening his options at full back, with the likes of Gael Clichy and Bacary Sagna not up to the task of performing the unorthodox roles that the ex-Barcelona boss employs in his system.
Pep Guardiola not planning his big spending spree until next summer. Defence, unsurprisingly, the priority https://t.co/9PYWSFHHNY
— John Cross (@johncrossmirror) 17. prosinca 2016.
Southampton centre back Virgil van Dijk is apparently on Guardiola’s radar to bolster his defensive options too – though a reported £50m price tag may put the 45-year-old off making a move.
Goalkeeping reinforcements may also be required, with Willy Caballero not expected to be handed a new contract when his current deal expires in the summer, and questions marks still remaining over Claudio Bravo, who only arrive from Barcelona in the summer.
Benfica ‘keeper Ederson has been linked with a move to the Etihad in recent days, while rumours persist over a big-money move for Borussia Dortmund’s star striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.