Pep Guardiola is making the world look on with envy during his initial Manchester City spending spree. Bringing in some big names, along with a smattering of classy youngsters, Guardiola is transforming a squad that had begun to slip into disrepair towards the final months of Manuel Pellegrini’s reign.
Nolito has arrived from Spain and Gundogan from Germany, as Guardiola flexes Manchester City’s significant financial muscle in a bid to rival Jose Mourinho’s ego-driven investment across the city.
It is surely a matter of time until Manchester City unveil another enormous signing, with the Manchester power-struggle growing in tedium by the minute. We are being ‘treated’ to a barrage of rumours from one day to the next and its beginning to grate somewhat.
However, Guardiola may swerve the obvious links to his former stars at Bayern and Barca and look towards his previous nemeses, Atletico Madrid. Simeone’s wonderfully drilled army of highly-gifted players are likely to be a target for Pep, aren’t they?
As Koulibaly and Stones dominate the transfer talk, many football fans seem to be overlooking one of the best young defenders in European football, Jose Gimenez.
The Atleti man quickly disposed of Miranda and has formed a rock-solid partnership with talisman, Diego Godin. His game is still raw in places, as you’d expect for a 21-year-old, but he possesses all the skills to become the best in Europe, whether that be alongside Vincent Kompany, Nicolas Otamendi or Diego Godin.
A hardened tackler, Gimenez’s ability to play out from the back would need a fair bit of work if he was to play under Guardiola, but there is no reason he couldn’t flourish into a star at City.
As Gael Clichy and Aleksandar Kolarov continue to defend as if there main purpose is to entertain, Guardiola must be considering adding a more cultured, skilled, assured left-back to City’s ranks before the summer is out.
Step up, Filipe Luis. Despite a turbulent time at Chelsea under Jose Mourinho, Luis has returned to the brilliant form that earned him the move to London in the first place. The Brazilian is one of the best full-backs in the game at the moment and would be a marked upgrade on either of Clichy or Kolarov.
Admittedly, Luis is coming towards the end of his peak years, but he would be a perfect signing whilst City look for a longer-term left-back successor.
Imagine Antoine Griezmann playing alongside Sergio Aguero.
Tantalising, isn’t it?
A European Championship golden boot has joined the other awards and medals in the Griezmann cabinets and he must be hoping to add a Premier League winners’ medal to that collection before the end of his career. The flying Frenchman’s transition to centre-forward under Simeone has been wonderful, notching 22 goals last season and quickly becoming one of Atletico’s best ever.
The release clause is sitting there, waiting to be triggered, could Griezmann be the true marquee signing of Guardiola’s summer?