Manchester City host Manchester United on Thursday night in a Manchester derby that could well be the deciding factor in this season’s race for Champions League qualification. Separated marginally in the Premier League table, victory, draw or defeat for either side could respectively cement or end their chances of making it into the top four.
With that in mind and so little to choose between both sides at this moment in time, we asked City fans earlier this week to vote for which Red Devils stars they’d like to see Pep Guardiola daringly swoop for in the coming transfer window. The results of our exclusive poll are now in, so here’s a rundown of the top three…
Ander Herrera was once considered little more than your run-of-the-mill Spanish playmaker, capable of keeping play ticking over nicely but rarely proving the difference in United’s quests for victory. The arrival of Jose Mourinho last summer, however, has transformed Herrera into a tenacious ball-winner, actually boasting the most interceptions of any Premier League midfielder this season despite making only 24 starts in the top flight. City’s midfield lacks that aggression when Fernandinho’s not in the side, but the most appealing factor is that the 27-year-old would add industriousness to Guardiola’s engine room whilst being able to keep up with the Citizens’ technically-demanding attacking play.
The goalkeeping department has been a problem area for Manchester City all season, so perhaps it’s no surprise David De Gea made the top three in our poll. Whilst Claudio Bravo and Willy Caballero have gone from calamity to calamity with few grace-saving performances in between, the Red Devils No.1 has been his usual top-class self, ranking joint-top of the Premier League’s clean sheets chart whilst making 47 saves in 31 appearances. Handy with his feet, too, the Spain international would be perfect for the way Pep Guardiola wants his side to play.
With Vincent Kompany plagued by injuries, Nicolas Otamendi struggling to convince, John Stones still learning the ropes and attacking full-back Aleksandar Kolarov asked to fill in at the heart of defence for much of the season, City simply must sign another centre-back this summer. Unfortunately, however, it seems unlikely United will be surrendering the winner of our poll, Eric Bailly, to their Manchester rivals any time soon. It’s not all been smooth sailing for the Ivory Coast international during his first season at Old Trafford but he’s demonstrated an exciting mix of physicality, composure and aggression throughout the campaign. He seems like a real star in the making and will likely be Jose Mourinho’s first-choice at the back next season.