By William Hill
Last Updated: 17th July 2019
With Vincent Kompany departing to take over managerial duties at Anderlecht, Manchester City are arguably one senior defender light ahead of the 2019/20 Premier League season.
Pep Guardiola seems in the market for another centre half to provide competition to Aymeric Laporte, John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi, with Harry Maguire and Kalidou Koulibaly two names positioned near the top of many longlists.
According to our transfer markets, Maguire is more likely to arrive at the Etihad than Koulibaly this summer. It’s 1/2 that City sign the England international before 3rd September, while 5/2 is the price on Koulibaly joining by the same date. City are favourites in both of these markets.
Here are five reasons why the Citizens might be prioritising Maguire of the pair:
Based on current media speculation, Napoli will only entertain bids in excess of £100m for their star defender.
Meanwhile, Leicester are reportedly holding out for £75m for Maguire, which would equal the transfer record for a defender paid by Liverpool previously for Virgil van Dijk.
In both instances so far, City appear to be willing to pay around £15m less than the stated asking price.
Not only is Koulibaly the best part of £20m more expensive, he’s also the best part of two years older.
Paying over £100m for a player who’s just celebrated his 28th birthday appears to be on the steep side, even if technically the Senegalese defender is entering the peak of his career.
Comparing Koulibaly to Kompany, City would be getting a maximum of five years out of such a signing, with little to no sell-on value.
Maguire isn’t 27 until March, which gives him a slightly longer shelf life.
Premier League experience
Following his exploits for Leicester this season, Maguire has now made over 100 Premier League appearances, meaning that he’s well accustomed to the demands of the English top flight.
Although Koulibaly has all of the tools to ply his trade and be a success in England, there’s no guarantees how quickly he will settle.
This is not only in terms of life in England, but also the speed of the league. Football in Italy is generally regarded as being played at a much slower pace. Given his age, City wouldn’t want to waste a year or two enabling Koulibaly to settle in.
Under Premier League rules, the maximum squad number is 25, of which at least eight have to be identified as homegrown players.
Last season, Man City named only a 21-man squad including four homegrown players – Stones, Kyle Walker, Raheem Sterling and Fabian Delph.
Signing Maguire would obviously assist in boosting City’s homegrown quota to five, particularly with Phil Foden still counting as an under-21.
However, with Kompany exiting, there’s a vacancy for Koulibaly in the 25 should Pep Guardiola make him his top transfer priority.
If Man City had a Xmas card list, it’s fair to say that Napoli would find themselves somewhere towards the bottom, just above local neighbours Manchester United.
This stems from transfer business last summer, when the Citizens believed they had a verbal agreement with the Italian club over signing Jorginho for £44m.
However, Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis is said to have backtracked on this deal when it came to light that Chelsea were willing to offer £53m for the central midfielder.
Memories of this may cause City to think twice before getting into negotiations again with last season’s Serie A runners up.