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Manchester City: Pep Guardiola must buy centre-back in January, says Gary Neville

Manchester City: Pep Guardiola must buy centre-back in January, says Gary Neville

Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville has said that Manchester City must be active in the January transfer window if they are to build on their past successes this season.

The reigning Premier League champions won 3-1 at Goodison Park on Saturday evening, though Pep Guardiola’s side still trail leaders Liverpool by five points in the league table.

City were shocked by Norwich City a fortnight ago, with the team missing centre-back Aymeric Laporte, who had been sidelined following the injury he sustained against Brighton and Hove Albion before the international break.

With Vincent Kompany having departed the Etihad Stadium in the summer, City were left with few solid options at centre-back – and Neville believes it is an area of the team that the club must address in the winter.

Speaking on Sky Sports, he said (via Manchester Evening News): “It’s never ideal to spend in January, but you have got to think City are thinking about dipping into the transfer market for a centre-back.

“They bought [Aymeric] Laporte last year in January and they are going to have to do something similar again.

“This won’t be good enough for the Champions League and the Premier League. He’ll [Guardiola] know it. He knows the standard better than anybody.

“I saw that he said they have no money. They have got more than everyone else. They have set limits.

“With (Vincent) Kompany it has left a huge void. There are not too many of him around and he’s difficult to replace.”

While Neville didn’t seem to buy Guardiola’s claims that the club are financially restricted, it is difficult to deny that City are short of alternatives at centre-back, with the Spaniard deciding against directly replacing Kompany in the summer.

And that is where the issue seems to lie. Although City may not be at fault for having injuries restrict their options, their failure to prepare for such a scenario leaves them with little choice but to delve into the market as Neville suggests – or battle on with their stretched resources.

So by Guardiola’s admission that a mid-season spending spree is out of the question, perhaps better prioritisation would have seen City escape their current situation.

Manchester City fans, do you regret not replacing Kompany in the summer? Can the side cope without winter additions? Let us know in the comments below!

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Article title: Manchester City: Pep Guardiola must buy centre-back in January, says Gary Neville

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