By William Hill
3rd January 2019
News.williamhill.com are taking a look at the 20 Premier League teams most pressing objectives in the January transfer window and next up are reigning champions Manchester City. The Citizens are 13/8 second favourites in the top-flight outright betting, but those are sure to be revised downwards if they justify EVS quotes against Liverpool at the Etihad.
One to sign: Frenkie de Jong
A specialist left-back would improve Pep Guardiola’s options, with first-choice Bernard Mendy injured again and deputies Fabian Delph, Danilo and Oleksandr Zinchenko all more at home in other positions.
However, the drop off in quality is far more noticeable when Fernandinho is absent and much coveted Ajax starlet De Jong is one of the world’s best prospects in the playmaking, defensive-structure-stabilising discipline that the former Shakhtar Donetsk man epitomises.
Signing the 21-year-old represents more than simply a midfield succession plan – Barcelona and Bayern Munich are also frothing at the mouth over a player who will reportedly decide upon his future when he returns from Ajax’s tour of South America in the middle of the month.
As a result, it’s also an opportunity to stop a talent with the potential to be world class falling into the hands of a direct Champions League rival. Having bagged Aymeric Laporte for £57m last January, the Citizens have previous for splashing the cash in the winter window if the right player is on sale.
One to shift: Brahim Diaz
As with Liverpool, previously covered in this series, City’s squad is pretty well balanced and their wealth is such that a sale need never be sanctioned on financial grounds.
Indeed, so finely balanced is it that removing a single player would arguably leave the club short, with the exception, perhaps, of Diaz, who is widely expected to join Real Madrid, having become disillusioned with a lack of first-team opportunities.
Unlike Zinchenko for instance, the forward hasn’t been trusted to deputise in another position and the City attack remains well-manned and relatively injury free.
One who stays: Ilkay Gundogan
Far from universally popular amongst the Etihad faithful, the 28-year-old deserves more time to return to his best form after a ridiculous run of injuries – including back problems and a cruciate ligament rupture – that hopefully finally came to an end last season.
With four goals and two assists from midfield in less 10 full games’ worth of Premier League minutes this term, he’s a more decisive presence in the engine room for Guardiola than Delph and even, numbers-wise, Bernardo Silva, who has five goals and as many assists from 1582 league minutes.