Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has expressed his intentions to sign a defender when the transfer window reopens in January.
The Daily Mail reported that Guardiola is seeking to add a defender to his squad at the next opportunity, with multiple injuries leaving him light for centre-back options.
John Stones is only coming back from a recent thigh injury while Aymeric Laporte is set to miss the rest of 2019 after damaging cartilage in his knee during last week’s win over Brighton, according to The Daily Mail.
The Daily Mail added that Guardiola will push for a defensive signing in January even if Laporte is nearing a return by then.
Laporte’s long-term absence leaves Stones and Nicolas Otamendi as the only natural centre-backs in Manchester City’s senior squad, which would leave Guardiola needing to experiment if either of those players were to become unavailable before the New Year.
Fernandinho filled in at centre-back for the French defender after replacing him against Brighton and told I News that he is ready to fulfil that role whenever needed, but he has only played in that position four times during a club career spanning more than 550 appearances.
However, Manchester City won three of the four matches in which he has played at centre-back, while in last Saturday’s game he won two aerial duels, made one interception and recorded a passing success rate of 93.3%, indicating that he could be an assured option at the heart of defence.
Right-back Kyle Walker is another first-team player who could be redeployed at centre-back if required, but he has played there just twice in 416 senior club games, most recently in the 1-0 win over Burnley last April.
Manchester City did not name any other centre-backs in the 25-man squad list they submitted to the Premier League this week, although they have three such players from the under-23 squad on their under-21 Contracts and Scholars list.
Fernandinho’s tidy display against Brighton on Saturday suggests that he could be a decent centre-back option if either Stones or Otamendi weren’t available, while Walker also has some experience of covering there.
However, considering that Vincent Kompany left the club in May and that they pulled out of the race to sign Harry Maguire in the summer, as reported by the Daily Mail, Guardiola ought to have known he was taking a risk going into the season with only three senior centre-backs.
The manager now has four months to carefully identify the defender that is needed to shore up a part of the squad that is already proving problematic.
Manchester City fans, what defenders would you like to see coming to the club in January? Give us your thoughts in the comments section below!
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