The Manchester City fans in the Transfer Tavern were forced to wave goodbye to one of the key figures of the club’s transformation this week as Yaya Toure played his final game at the Etihad Stadium in City colours.
Yaya Toure has played an instrumental role in City’s transformation into one of the biggest clubs in world football in little less than a decade, but at 34-years-of-age it was the right time for the Ivorian to call time on his career in Manchester. He leaves with the blessing of the City supporters who will forever regard him as a legend at the club for reasons which extend beyond his world-class performances on the field of play.
Although the Citizens faithful will be reluctant to admit it, his departure may well represent the first of many in the years to come, and perhaps the first man to follow in his footsteps will be Vincent Kompany. The Belgium international is also a legend of the club after spending the majority of his career at the Etihad, but injuries have served to plague his career in recent years.
Kompany appears to have turned a corner of late as he has managed to remain fit since the end of January, however, another setback could all but end his career with the club. Pep Guardiola is a manager who always strives for perfection and investing in young players for the future remains a core component of his perfectionist philosophy, so it seems likely he will be searching for a new centre-back to eventually succeed Kompany this summer.
And according to reports in De Telegraf, that’s exactly what Guardiola is in the market for. The report claims City are set to go head-to-head with Bayern Munich, Tottenham Hotspur and Barcelona for the signature of Ajax’s Matthijs de Ligt, and that the 18-year-old has informed the club that he wishes to leave during the summer window.
If that proves to be the case then Guardiola should do everything he can to fend off competition from elsewhere and secure the signature of the most promising centre-back in world football. Physically, de Ligt (valued at £22.5 million by Transfermarkt) possesses all of the attributes which are needed to succeed in the Premier League along with the technical quality which Guardiola actively seeks in every one of his players.
The signing of the left-footed Aymeric Laporte in January was clearly one which was made with the long-term project in mind, and the club should now utilise the same strand of thought by searching for a suitable right-footed prospect to eventually succeed Kompany. With a full season of Eridivisie football under his belt and with one of the finest footballing educations from the prestigious Ajax academy, de Ligt certainly fits the bill, so City should make him their number one transfer target this summer.
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