Pep Guardiola and co have managed to assemble a formidable outfit in recent seasons, although never one to rest on his laurels, the 51-year-old is seemingly ready to go big again in the upcoming transfer window to further improve his Manchester City side.
While all the headlines at present have tended to focus on the increasingly likely arrival of Borussia Dortmund’s highly-sought sensation Erling Haaland, it would appear that the reigning Premier League champions are also keen to strengthen in other departments.
That’s according to recent reports, with Sky Germany reporter Florian Plettenberg suggesting that the club are among those interested in Nottingham Forest loanee Djed Spence, with the 21-year-old believed to be available for roughly €12-15m (£10-12.5m).
Plettenberg did also insist that it is the £2.25m-rated starlet’s “dream” to play for rivals Manchester United, although Guardiola’s side may be able to steal a march on their neighbours owing to the ongoing turmoil that has consumed Old Trafford.
Amid all the Haaland frenzy, recruiting an upcoming youngster who is yet to taste top-flight football may not seem a priority, although in Spence the Etihad outfit could well have a real talent on their hands, should they pluck the Englishman from parent club Middlesbrough this summer.
The attacking right-back – whose existing deal expires in 2024 – could also potentially represent a long-term heir to the club’s current incumbent Kyle Walker, with the 31-year-old perhaps unlikely to be able to remain at the real elite level for too much longer.
The former Tottenham Hotspur man’s searing pace has proven a vital asset for both club and country – he was dubbed “utterly brilliant” by Gary Lineker last year – yet the £22.5m-rated star has been plagued by injury at times this season, meaning he has featured in just 20 of the club’s 33 league games.
In Spence then, Guardiola has an affordable and financially attractive prospect who is only seemingly going to get better, with the London-born ace having been labelled “absolutely outstanding” by former title winner Wes Morgan for his form at the City Ground so far this season.
On what has proven to be an astute season-long loan capture by Forest, the England U21 international has thrived under Steve Cooper’s care, featuring 44 times in all competitions to help the Championship outfit to the FA Cup quarter-finals and keep them in with a shout of automatic promotion.
As well as chipping in with three goals and five assists across all fronts so far this term, the £4.4k-per-week sensation has also produced some promising defensive statistics, averaging 1.6 interceptions, 1.4 tackles and 1.2 clearances per game in the second tier.
It has been his form against top-flight opposition in the FA Cup, however, that has particularly caught the eye in the second-half of the campaign, with Arsenal legend Ian Wright speaking highly of the defender after Forest’s win over the Gunners back in January.
Speaking on Wrighty’s House Podcast (quotes via Nottinghamshire Post), the former England international said of Spence that: “But let me say, that was one of the best right back performances I have seen for a very long time. A very long time.
“If we are talking about right-backs performing at an unbelievable level, we’re talking Reece James and Trent (Alexander-Arnold).
“But I have not seen a combative, technical, swashbuckling performance like that for a very long time.”
The 6 foot and a half speedster now potentially has the chance to test himself against those names mentioned above next season, should he make the leap to the higher level, with a move to City seemingly an intriguing option for all parties.
Not only would he prove a quality understudy to the more senior Walker next term, but he could also eventually prove just the man to replace him further down the line.