Manchester City could be bolstered by the arrival of former Stoke and Blackburn midfielder Steven N’Zonzi in January, with Graham Hunter reporting that Sevilla have confirmed to the Daily Record they expect to lose the 28-year-old to City or Juventus.
N’Zonzi has been outstanding for Jorge Sampaoli’s side this season and is one of the reasons they are just a point behind Barcelona and currently in the La Liga title race. Since moving to Spain, he has averaged over 20 passes more per game than he did at Stoke, drawing comparisons to Sergio Busquets.
His form has alerted a host of top clubs in Europe and the fact that he has a €30 million (£25.6 million) release clause makes him a very appealing option for the likes of City, who have lost İlkay Gündoğan for the season, and Juventus, who are struggling to close a deal for Belgium midfielder Axel Witsel.
Juventus have been tipped to sign N’Zonzi, but he has been so impressive that City are now in the running, and Guardiola’s closest friend in the sport, Juanma Lillo, is assistant coach at Sevilla and will have given Pep the lowdown on the Frenchman.
N’Zonzi has won the ball back 102 times in the Spanish league this season and the combination of his defensive and passing abilities could make him an ideal fit for a Pep Guardiola midfield. Graham Hunter says that in their briefing to the Daily Record, Sevilla revealed that if either City or Juve trigger N’Zonzi’s release clause, they will be able to offer a salary that the Andalusian club simply cannot match.
It remains to be seen if City or Juventus will make a move in January or possibly wait until summer, but the addition of a combative midfielder in January could boost Pep Guardiola’s hopes of winning a trophy in his first season at Manchester City. N’Zonzi would be cup-tied in the Champions League but able to play in the Premier League and FA Cup.