It’s probably fair to suggest Pep Guardiola will sleep well this summer after leading Manchester City to more success this term.
Despite the Blues falling short in their first Champions League final, it was yet another brilliant campaign from Guardiola’s side, as City overcame their slow start to triumph in the Premier League, while also winning their fourth consecutive League Cup at Wembley.
With the wounds from Porto yet to heal, Guardiola has travelled to Barcelona to spend time with his family, taking a well-deserved break after an emotionally charged and difficult year, but when he returns to Manchester, there could be a selection dilemma to solve.
The MEN understand that Guardiola will seek to fill the sizeable void that Sergio Aguero’s departure has left. Tottenham’s Harry Kane has been heavily linked with a move to Etihad; his goal-scoring ability and hunger for trophies would make the move a perfect marriage.
Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy is known to be a tricky negotiator though, with reports claiming Spurs would only considering sanctioning an exit for Kane for a bid in the region of £120m, which could scupper the deal and make City look elsewhere.
Regardless of Kane’s availability, it seems guaranteed that a new centre-forward will arrive at City this summer, but that could have huge ramifications on Ilkay Gundogan, Bernardo Silva and Rodri, who could all fall victim to any potential new signing in attack.
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City won the league title in an emphatic fashion, but their initial league performances weren’t good enough and it seemed Guardiola was yet to find the answers to the questions of 2019/20 — the 5-2 defeat against Leicester in September was a watershed moment.
The 4-2-3-1 that was used in that clash was quickly abandoned and Guardiola soon changed City to this season’s 4-3-3 formation, and that move proved to be an inspired decision, although it did mean Kevin De Bruyne was used in the false nine position.
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Rather unsurprisingly, De Bruyne flawlessly adapted to the demands of that role, but when a new-centre forward arrives it seems highly likely the Belgian will move back to his natural position, which means there will be one fewer space in the midfield to fight for.
Yes, Guardiola is synonymous with rotation, but De Bruyne is one of three names — alongside Ederson and Ruben Dias — who will be the first on the team sheet, meaning that Gundogan, Bernardo, Rodri or potentially Fernandindo (depending on his future) will battle for the two remaining midfield positions.
If Guardiola plays with a defensive midfielder, the benefits of which he was sent a timely reminder in the Champions League final, that means Gundogan and Bernardo could fight that one spot — It’s a selection dilemma, but a pleasant one to have.