With their 2015/16 campaign over, it’s time for Manchester City to start thinking about the summer transfer window and logic suggests it will be one of incredible spending at the Etihad.
Firstly, the Premier League’s new television deal is coming into effect, which will push collective revenue to a record£8billion and render English clubs with transfer budgets three or four times the size of their foreign counterparts.
Secondly, this current City roster is in need of an overhaul. It has the oldest average squad age in the Premier League and over the last two seasons, has struggled to remain competitive in the English title race.
Finally and most importantly, the Eastlands outfit are welcoming a new manager in Pep Guardiola, whose reputation commands a sizable transfer budget to remould squads around his rather unique tiki-taka philosophy.
So it’s more than likely we’ll see the Citizens decimate the £55million club-record transfer fee they spent on Kevin De Bruyne last summer. With that in mind, here’s FIVE targets who could become City’s new record signing.
It’s no secret Real Madrid are looking to offload James Rodriguez this summer, having failed to hit the heights expected since earning a big-money transfer to the Bernabeu via the Golden Boot award at the 2014 World Cup. The Colombian international has struggled for both fitness and form but remains a talented player, blessed with two fantastic feet and a stocky frame that should serve him well in the Premier League. He certainly suits the Pep Guardiola philosophy but Real Madrid are determined to recoup at least £60million for the attacking midfielder.
Following yet another title-winning campaign with Juventus, Paul Pogba looks set to become the most sought-after midfielder in world football for a second consecutive summer transfer window. Combining power and stamina with technical flair and netting prowess, many deem the France international the best centre-mid in the business – and aged just 23, he’s likely to only further improve over the next few years. Accordingly, however, every major club in Europe has been linked with the 6 foot 2 powerhouse over the last few years, including the Citizens, and agent Mino Raiola claims Juventus won’t settle for anything less than £77million.
Rumours of Robert Lewandowski leaving Bayern Munich have bubbled under the surface this season and due to the Pep Guardiola connection, Manchester City represent a plausible next destination – especially considering the squad lacks a dependable accomplice to Sergio Aguero. Alongside the Argentine assassin, the 27-year-old is up there with the top finishers in world football, amassing a career-best 42 goals across all competitions this term. Transfermarkt value the Poland international at £52.5million but under contract until 2019, Bayern will feel they can hold out for more.
Marco Verratti is one of the most exciting young midfielders in world football and represents a perfect fit for Pep Guardiola’s tiki-taka philosophy, combining tenacity off the ball with creative vision and a simply phenomenal passing range. But convincing PSG to sell this summer won’t be easy, especially considering the French champions are already losing one key player in Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Rumour has it they’ve already rejected a £46million bid from Barcelona for the 23-year-old playmaker and under contract until 2020, Laurent Blanc’s side could easily command a figure in excess of £55million.
Neymar’s contract situation is by no means critical but now verging upon its final two years, a number of European rivals will look to test Barcelona’s resolve this summer. The Brazil international has flourished into one of the most potent attacking threats in world football since moving to the Nou Camp from Santos in summer 2013, going on to accumulate 85 goals and umpteen more assists in 141 appearances across all competitions for the Catalans. The 24-year-old’s contract is known to include a £146million release clause but having already been activated once by Manchester United, competition for his signature is fierce.