When Pep Guardiola was announced as the next Manchester City manager, certain players looked very edgy.
And rightly so. In a season where City were less than at their best and beyond inconsistent, many of the players will need to shape up before they are shown the door. This was the season when all of the top clubs found consistency an issue and a great time for Manchester City to walk away with the title in Pellegrini’s last year in charge.
Despite Capital One Cup success, it was a season of underachievement. Reaching the semi-finals of the Champions League was indeed the highlight, but the underwhelming displays against Real Madrid made City look ordinary.
With a new manager comes change on many fronts. The playing personnel will be scrutinised by Guardiola and his staff and one area that has been mentioned is the man between the sticks.
Pep likes ‘keepers who are comfortable with the ball at their feet as well as being excellent shot-stoppers. So is it true that England’s Joe Hart might move on?
If so, here are five goalkeepers Pep should target this summer…
Pep has reportedly talked to his former Barcelona keeper, who suffered a nightmare 18-month spell at Man United under Louis van Gaal.
The new City boss believes he can tempt Valdes back to Manchester so he can prove to United just what they were missing.
After a bitter fall-out with LVG, Valdes was banned from training with the senior squad and spent the last six months of his contract in Belgium with Standard Liege.
The ex-Spain international was a key component of Barcelona’s super-team and a pivotal player in Pep’s four glory-filled years at the Nou Camp.
Guardiola has huge affection for Valdes and would be willing to give him a chance to revive his career at the Etihad.
The 29-year-old may feel that destiny will call him to Old Trafford, but it could be the blue half that re-signs him in the interim.
His father played for both Manchester clubs in a glittering career and now Kasper has a Premier League winners medal to add to the family collection.
Schmeichel never established himself at City and went out on a series of loans before leaving permanently in 2009. In all he had spells at seven different clubs before joining then-Championship Leicester five years ago.
After a superb season, the Danish international could be heading back to the blue half of Manchester.
Manchester City were reportedly ready to rival Liverpool for the transfer of Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen, but the Anfield club bought Karius instead.
Barca are still thinking over an improved contract, but the Germany international was struggling for playing time at the Nou Camp last season. City could be keen to upgrade in the goalkeeping department, although current back-up Willy Caballero put in a superb performance in the Capital One Cup final.
However, Guardiola may want a keeper of higher calibre to replace or challenge Joe Hart.
Guardiola is a huge admirer of the 32-year-old shot stopper and was believed to have been influential in the Chilean ‘keeper’s move from Real Sociedad to Barcelona in 2014.
Barca don’t appear keen on losing him, so City will need to trigger the release clause that is thought to be £30.4m on a contract that runs through until 2019.
Manchester United were also linked with the keeper should De Gea leave for Real. After playing 37 straight games for Barca, he was replaced by ter Stegen.
The impressive Rulli, currently at Real Sociedad, reportedly could soon be on his way to the Etihad Stadium.
Spanish media has reported that Pep was keen to sign the Barcelona goalkeeper Claudio Bravo, but 23-year-old Rulli impressed the new City boss hugely last season.
As well as having great reflexes and remarkable agility, Guardiola appreciates how comfortable the Argentine goalkeeper is with the ball at his feet, something that Pep looks for in any of his keepers.
Real Sociedad do not own the player, as he is reportedly registered to a third-party investment fund with links to Manchester City. If that’s the case. City may get their man on a free transfer.