Seven potential Pep Guardiola signings at Manchester City

Sport360 staff 08:14 02/02/2016
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Do you think any of these players will move to City?

It was confirmed on Monday that Guardiola would replace Pellegrini next season, ending months of speculation around the current incumbents future.

And Guardiola will most certainly be putting in place plans to invest in City’s squad, with some of the world’s best players earmarked to join him in Manchester.

Here, we look at six of those superstars that will be on Guardiola’s radar this summer.

PAUL POGBA (Juventus)

The Frenchman has been coveted by City for some time and is the sort of ball-playing midfield who would slot in well into a Guardiola side. A box-to-box presence, Pogba would be the perfect long-term replacement for the ageing Yaya Toure and would breathe life into a City midfield that has at times looked stagnant this season.

Pogba’s temperament, perhaps the one major question mark over his involvement with a coach like Guardiola – who places a big influence on team dynamics on and off the pitch – has improved dramatically since his time as a precocious talent at Manchester United. Pogba has evolved into a real leader at Juventus and though Barcelona are also believed to be interested, the opportunity to work under Guardiola may prove the perfect carrot with which to attract the midfielder.

ROBERT LEWANDOWSKI (Bayern Munich)

Lewandowski is an avowed Pep-ite and has enjoyed some breathtaking scoring form under Guardiola at Bayern, notably that incredible spell of 8 minutes 59 seconds that brought five goals against Wolfsburg.

Overall he’s claimed 52 goals in 77 games since joining Guardiola at Bayern and has often spoken of his admiration for his boss.

With City overly reliant on Sergio Aguero, Lewandowski represents an equally threatening proposition in front of goal, while his experience of playing in the latter stages of the Champions League would prove invaluable to a City side desperate to make an impression in Europe’s premier club competition.

LEWANDOWSKI ON PEP: “I can say I’m a better player [since working with him] and you can learn something new in every training session. He covers every angle to the smallest detail and he always demands 100 per cent in training and in games.”

LIONEL MESSI (Barcelona)

It would be a breathtaking signing that would propel City on to a whole new footballing plain. Messi could doubtless shine playing for a Sunday League manager but there’s no question he enjoys a special bond with Guardiola, the coach under whom he really shot to prominence.

City are certainly capable of bankrolling such a mammoth move and should Guardiola be able to convince Messi to abandon Barcelona after years of loyal service, football’s biggest ever transfer could be on the horizon this summer. Somewhat of an upgrade on the current dribbling talents of the likes of David Silva and Raheem Sterling, Messi would surely be the key to unlock the Champions League treasure chest for City.

MESSI ON PEP: “We had a great time when Pep was here. We won a lot of titles and I grew a lot – that was the time when I grew most as a footballer. We had a fantastic relationship when he was here.”

GERARD PIQUE (Barcelona)

The 28-year-old was pivotal to the success Guardiola enjoyed at Barcelona, epitomising the side’s possession-based philosophy as the first ball carrier from the back. Although a former trainee at city rivals United, Pique’s signing would be a major coup for Guardiola’s City and would be welcomed by the fans.

Guardiola brought Pique back to Barcelona in 2008 and could be a decisive factor in tempting the Spaniard into a return to Manchester. And with City looking fragile at the back in the absence of captain Vincent Kompany, Pique would represent a more assured option than the likes of Eliaquim Mangala and Nicolas Otamendi.

PIQUE ON PEP:  “Guardiola can scream nearly as loud as Ferguson. Guardiola is more looking for more dialogue, explanation of what works and what does not. Ferguson is more impulsive. But they both have the ability to motivate their men. “

THIAGO ALCANTARA (Bayern Munich)

Like Pique, Thiago is a favourite of Guardiola’s and even joined his former mentor in jumping ship to Germany when Pep got the Bayern job in 2013.

Guardiola gave Thiago his debut at Barcelona and has worked with him ever since his Barcelona B days. An immensely talented midfielder, Thiago has struggled with injuries at Bayern where he signed a new four-year contract in August last year.

Thiago’s passing ability and familiarity with Guardiola’s system would make him an attractive option for the Etihad hierarchy and would add a touch more class than the likes of Fernando and more experience than Fabian Delph.

THIAGO ON PEP: “Pep has always had a lot of faith in me, and me in him.  He is the best coach in history. I have shared great moments with him and bad moments but you know how somebody is in bad moments and he always was there. I came to Bayern with him and I am so grateful as he brought me the opportunity to play at a great club like Bayern.”

LUIS SUAREZ (Barcelona)

Somewhat of a long shot, it will be tough to convince Suarez to move to any Premier League club other than Liverpool, the Uruguayan saying as much himself this month.

But Guardiola is believed to be a huge admirer of Suarez, who has been formidable since joining Barcelona; his partnership with Neymar and Messi saw the club storm to a Champions League, La Liga and Copa del Rey treble last year.

The pair are yet to work together, which may tempt Suarez should he or Barcelona be willing to discuss a move, while Guardiola’s brother Pere also represents the former Premier League Golden Boot winner. Like Lewandowski, Suarez would provide even greater firepower alongside Aguero and his record of 69 goals in 110 Premier League starts for Liverpool proves he can deliver in England.

SUAREZ ON PEP: “We all know what a great tactician Pep Guardiola is.” The Uruguayan ahead of Barcelona’s 2015 Champions League semi-final against Bayern Munich.

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