Guardi­ola ready to stay and rebuild age­ing City squad

Cen­tre-back and left-back likely to be pri­or­ity tar­gets But man­ager rules out move back to the Eti­had for San­cho

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Sport - By James Ducker north­ern foot­ball Cor­re­spon­dent

Pep Guardi­ola has ad­mit­ted Manch­ester City need to rebuild this sum­mer if they are to wrest back the Premier League ti­tle from Liver­pool but ruled out the pos­si­bil­ity of Jadon San­cho re­turn­ing.

City are due to form a guard of hon­our tonight when Liver­pool visit the Eti­had Sta­dium for their first game since de­thron­ing Guardi­ola’s side as cham­pi­ons.

With mid­fielder David Silva set to depart at the end of the sea­son after a decade at the club, 12 months after cap­tain Vin­cent Kom­pany’s de­par­ture, winger Leroy Sane join­ing Bay­ern Mu­nich for £55 mil­lion and Ser­gio Aguero, 32, and Fer­nand­inho, 35, in the final year of their con­tracts, Guardi­ola has con­ceded that his squad need re­gen­er­at­ing.

City can still add the FA Cup and Cham­pi­ons League to the Carabao Cup they won in March but, hav­ing seen his team fall 23 points be­hind Liver­pool fol­low­ing back-to-back ti­tle wins and with an age­ing squad pro­file, Guardi­ola is tar­get­ing re­in­force­ments in the trans­fer mar­ket.

The sit­u­a­tion is com­pli­cated by the fi­nan­cial uncer­tainty caused by the Covid-19 cri­sis, and the club still await­ing the out­come of their Court of Ar­bi­tra­tion for Sport ap­peal against a two-sea­son Euro­pean ban by Uefa, but Guardi­ola was orig­i­nally aim­ing for be­tween three and five new sign­ings.

“Yeah, in some [ways] … not for the lack of qual­ity [in the squad] but for the ab­sence of Vinny, David – Dinho [Fer­nand­inho] and Ser­gio have one year left but I don’t know if they will ex­tend or not,” the City man­ager said when asked if re­build­ing would be nec­es­sary.

“Some play­ers have to be re­placed. But it’s not a dis­as­ter thing, or bad thing, it’s part of foot­ball for the age [of the squad], for the nor­mal sit­u­a­tion and cir­cum­stances.

“It hap­pens in other clubs – play­ers who are con­sid­ered im­por­tant de­cide to leave be­cause they don’t want to be here. That was the case for Jadon San­cho and Leroy, es­pe­cially Leroy be­cause Jadon was in the academy. If guys don’t want to stay, they have to leave – we are not get­ting the best of th­ese play­ers if, in their mind, they are not happy here. So this is the first thing and the sec­ond [fac­tor] is with the age [of the squad] but it hap­pened and we have to rebuild it. It hap­pens at clubs around the world. You never can be eter­nal. We have to ac­cept it and try to take the right de­ci­sions as a club to try to main­tain the level that we have here.”

City’s hi­er­ar­chy will also seek clar­ity over Guardi­ola’s fu­ture, with the man­ager out of con­tract next sea­son, but the Cata­lan ap­peared to sig­nal his ap­petite for the re­gen­er­a­tion project. A cen­tre-half and left­back are likely to be pri­or­i­ties.

“We have an in­cred­i­ble six or seven weeks ahead of us – we have ex­cep­tional play­ers and we have to be all to­gether to fight for this – but after we fin­ish [the sea­son] we re­flect,” he said.

“I want to take a lit­tle time to think with the club what we have to do, which play­ers we should re­place – Leroy and the oth­ers, we have to see what hap­pens – but not judge on the fact we con­ceded 10 more goals [this sea­son] just be­cause of the back four.”

How­ever, Guardi­ola has ruled out a move for San­cho, who left the club for Borus­sia Dort­mund in an £8mil­lion deal in 2017. City’s lo­cal ri­vals, Manch­ester United, have an in­ter­est in San­cho but not at Dort­mund’s £115 mil­lion val­u­a­tion.

Asked if City could bring back San­cho, Guardi­ola said: “No, he de­cided to leave, why should he de­cide to come back? We wanted him to stay. When he de­cided to move to Dort­mund, it’s not be­cause he is go­ing to de­cide to come back one year later. It would make no sense.”

On his way: David Silva leaves Manch­ester City at the end of the sea­son 10 years after join­ing

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.