Pep Guardiola will be pleased to see a host of his key players not travelling for international duty this week.
David Silva will not link up with Spain following his international retirement while Raheem Sterling missed out on England selection due to injury. Both Nicolas Otamendi and Sergio Aguero have been omitted from Argentina squad and Gabriel Jesus, Fernandinho and Ederson were overlooked by Tite for Brazil’s team. Guardiola will be glad to have his players fit and ready for the return of the Premier League.
The Citizens remain hot on the heels of Liverpool, Chelsea and Watford with three wins and one draw from their opening four fixtures. City face Fulham at home following the international break before kicking off their Champions League campaign against Lyon at the Etihad. Though the transfer window may be shut, Guardiola should be on the lookout for potential January recruits.
One man he should be keeping tabs on is Napoli midfielder – Piotr Zielinski. Valued at £28.8m by Transfermarkt, the Poland international was reportedly set to sign for Liverpool back in 2016, but it was Napoli who won the race for his signature. Zielinski has since become a key player in Naples and was vital to their title challenge under Maurizio Sarri last season, scoring seven goals in 47 appearances. The former Udinese man made an excellent start to the new campaign with two goals in three appearances so far.
The 24-year-old would slot seamlessly into the City midfield and give Guardiola another quality option in the centre. Zielinski would have no trouble adapting to the Spaniard’s style of play after retaining an 88% pass success rate in the Serie A last season. He loves to run with the ball, averaging 1.8 dribbles per game last season (WhoScored), to help transition defence into attack which would be useful against sides who defend using a low block.
Under Guardiola’s tutelage, Zielinski could become a Premier League great.
Manchester City fans, thoughts?