Riyad Mahrez could be Manchester City’s only signing this summer with manager Pep Guardiola refusing to rule out the possibility of not bringing in a new midfielder.
Midfield had been one of the areas of Manchester City’s squad that Guardiola was desperate to improve, but his plans to do so were interrupted when Chelsea hijacked the Premier League champions’ deal for Jorginho.
As a result, Guardiola could now go into the new season without Manchester City’s midfield being strengthened.
Since missing out on Jorginho, Manchester City have been linked with Juventus’ Miralem Pjanic.
However, Guardiola has told reporters that while he is a huge admirer of Pjanic, a move for the playmaker is unlikely at this moment of time (via Sky News).
With Pjanic set to stay at the Allianz Stadium and no other midfielders currently lined up, Ilkay Gundogan could be the one the fulfil the defensive midfield role at Manchester City this season.
“Gundogan can play there,” Guardiola was quoted saying on Sky News. And the Germany international has already shown what he can offer the side from that position.
£36m-rated (via Transfermarkt) Gundogan may not possess the same engine or be as good at tackling as Fernandinho, but the 27-year-old passes the ball extremely well and was a goal threat for his side last season.
The former Borussia Dortmund man scored in some of Manchester City’s biggest games including matches against Tottenham, Liverpool and rivals Manchester United.
He may not be the long-term solution for Guardiola, but Gundogan is still capable of deputising for Fernandinho in the defensive midfield position and will get more opportunities to do so with Juventus expected to keep Pjanic.