Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola twitchy about several potential summer departures
- Pep Guardiola says he has no idea what the squad will look like for next season
- Several stars could leave Manchester City before the end of the summer window
- Spanish boss Guardiola hopes to retain a strong squad for the 23-24 campaign
The view as Pep Guardiola opened his curtains in Tokyo last week was not a bad one. Right beneath the five-star Conrad Hotel stands the famous Hamarikyu Gardens.
Sixty-one acres of serenity, and one of the oldest gardens in Japan, it once served as an imperial retreat. Slightly different these days: Erling Haaland and John Stones went sunbathing one afternoon; Phil Foden and Nathan Ake had a wander around too.
It’s in a permanent state of tranquillity, something Manchester City’s manager and his sporting director Txiki Begiristain would not mind right now.
Guardiola admitted seven days ago that he had no clue what his squad will look like come the end of this window. Little has changed. Riyad Mahrez followed Ilkay Gundogan out of the door when confirming his £30million switch to Al-Ahli and City could see another two huge names departing over the coming weeks.
City do not want either of Kyle Walker and Bernardo Silva to leave. There are big contract offers on the table for both. Bayern Munich could not finalise a transfer of Walker in the days before losing against City in Tokyo — in the highest attended football match ever in the national stadium — and Walker arrived in Seoul with City.
Pep Guardiola admits he has no clue what his squad will look like come the end of this window
Manchester City do not want either of Kyle Walker (left) and Bernardo Silva (right) to leave
Nathan Ake has signed a new four-year deal but there could yet be several outgoings for City
Aymeric Laporte is expected to depart should City finally secure a deal for RB Leipzig defender Josko Gvardiol that is likely to stand at around £86m. That is a big outlay on the 21-year-old. Ake penned a new four-year deal on Saturday.
But with a week to go until the Community Shield, there are unknowns. Mahrez needs replacing unless Silva stays — and Foden can fill in on the right as well as through the middle.
Or one of the youngsters, Cole Palmer or Oscar Bobb, is entrusted with further responsibility. Begiristain has been searching for a winger but so far they have not found quite what they want.
Whether they change tack and gamble on Crystal Palace’s Michael Olise remains to be seen. That would not necessarily be in keeping with how City have operated.
‘The market is open until the end of August,’ Guardiola said ahead of City’s final pre-season friendly against Atletico Madrid. ‘I think a few things, or many things, are going to happen. We will see if we need wingers or inside players, we will see what happens with loan players, which players stay or not.’
That so many have indicated they could leave has been a surprise, yet seemingly every year lies talk of up to half-a-dozen moving on and it never materialises to that extent. Joao Cancelo’s future feels neither here nor there given he wasn’t around for the last six months of their history-making campaign.
City could not formalise interest in James Maddison without knowing about departures — namely Silva — and had already wrapped up Mateo Kovacic from Chelsea for £25m.
If nothing else happens then City would find themselves in a decent position to go again. Present that option to Guardiola now and he’d probably take it.