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03 Aug 2018

Manchester City: 5 midfield targets to compete with Fernandinho

REUTERS/Henry Romero

This summer Manchester City have been faced with the best type of question a sport team can have. How do you improve on near perfection? After their rebuild in 2017, City swept to the league title last season, with the most dominant season of the Premier League era.

It goes without saying that City don’t need sweeping investment to enjoy another good season, but that doesn’t mean they can’t improve aspects of their squad.

While they’ve already begun this with the signing of Riyad Mahrez - an opportunistic purchase which adds further quality to their already impressive frontline - there’s still one piece of business they could do with getting done to be completely satisfied going into the new season.

City got through the Premier League last season with only four midfielders making more than 400 minutes. They managed to start their first choice trident of Kevin De Bruyne, David Silva and Fernandinho regularly, and when one of them was missing, Ilkay Gundogan was always available to fill in for whichever one he needed to.

If City had one thing which could have potentially dragged them down, it was an injury crises in midfield. They avoided that, however, and bar Silva missing games through personal difficulties, and Fernandinho missing some through a small injury, almost always had everyone available to choose from.

REUTERS/Sergio Perez

That isn’t a given next season. And with Fernandinho and Silva 33 and 32 years old respectively, it could be time to start looking at alternatives for the future anyway. For this reason City were long linked with Jorginho, and it was something of a surprise when he followed his Napoli manager Maurizio Sarri to Chelsea.

It’s been somewhat strange that City haven’t responded by targeting someone else yet. Sure, with the addition of Mahrez, there’s a chance Bernardo Silva settles into an interior role and rotates more with De Bruyne and David Silva than he did last season.

But that still leaves Gundogan as the only viable Fernandinho cover, and he’s had a torrid history with injuries himself, meaning it’s dangerous to count on him. It makes sense for City to make one more addition, to make sure they cover all the bases. But who should they be targeting?