Manchester City will not make any notable signings in January according to Pep Guardiola, although there are whispers that if the right opportunity appears that stance could change.
While City may be quiet on the recruitment side this month, a number of players could be heading out of the Etihad departure lounge, either permanently or on loan moves.
Brahim Diaz is expected to join Real Madrid imminently in a deal that the Blues hope could top €20 million after add-ons, with the initial fee expected to be in the €15 million region. Guardiola did not want to lose the 19-year-old, but considering his contract is up in June, the club will seemingly receive a decent fee. Could that money be reinvested this month?
Following Brahim out of the Etihad could be forgotten man Eliaquim Mangala who has recovered from a serious knee injury sustained while on loan at Everton last season. The 27-year-old is well down the pecking order at City and like Diaz, is out of contract in June. Inter Milan have been linked as have Istanbul giants Galatasaray and Fenerbahce. With Mangala’s deal up in June, the best case scenario for City is loaning him out with a club taking on his considerable salary.
Phillipe Sandler was City’s second-most expensive signing of the summer 2017 transfer window at a modest £2.6 million. The Dutch defender arrived from PEC Zwolle injured and has recently recovered, making the bench for City’s Carabao Cup quarter-final win over Leicester. Sandler’s ability to play as a holding midfielder could make him useful to Guardiola, who has praised the 21-year-old, but a loan move is possible. Galatasaray is said to be a possible destination if the reported link-up between them and City is true, while leading Dutch clubs would surely like to snap him up for the second half of the campaign.
Another one linked with Galatasaray is holding midfielder Claudio Gomes, who arrived from Paris Saint-Germain in the summer. Gomes is highly rated and featured in pre-season, before having a tantilising taste of first team football, appearing for seconds in the Community Shield and getting a short run-out in the Carabao Cup against Fulham. Gomes has appeared 8 times in the Premier League 2 and 5 times in the UEFA Youth League, but City may want to test him at a better level. The original plan was to consider Gomes’ next step after his first half-season and that time has come. NAC Breda are battling relegation in the Netherlands and could be another option.
Marlos Moreno has flopped in loan spells at Deportivo La Coruña, Girona FC and Flamengo, disappointing given the hype surrounding him when he arrived in 2016 – with some claiming the Colombian winger to be a bigger talent than Gabriel Jesus. Marlos still has plenty of time left on his City deal and if they can find a buyer, he could be offloaded. Another loan spell might be more realistic with reports from Brazil suggesting São Paulo and Palmeiras are interested despite the 22-year-old flattering to deceive at Palmeiras. In Europe, struggling NAC Breda are a possibility if in need of a winger.
One City player who hasn’t disappointed on loan is Venezuela midfielder Yangel Herrera who though troubled by injuries, made a big impression during a two-season loan spell at sister club New York City FC. Herrera, 20, has been in Manchester training with the first team and it would be interesting to hear Pep Guardiola’s views of him considering City’s need for a holding midfielder. If Pep doesn’t believe Herrera to be ready for the City first team, you can expect widespread interest from the continent in Herrera. Lyon have already tried – and failed – to sign the talented Venezuelan from City, and are good at identifying talent.
EFL, Dutch and German clubs will be interested in City EDS talents such as Rabbi Matondo, Felix Nmecha, Benjamin Garré, Ian Carlo Poveda and Nabil Touaizi and it depends if City coaches believe they are ready for loans. Young winger Matondo, reported to be the fastest player at the club, recently won his first Wales cap and could benefit from Brahim Diaz’s absence by making the occasional cup appearance in future. Bundesliga clubs are circling for him so City will want to give him a taste of first-team football soon.