The Manchester City fans have been drowning their sorrows in the Transfer Tavern this week after their dream of clinching a historic quadruple was crushed by Wigan Athletic at the DW Stadium.
Although City’s ambitions of lifting all four available trophies this season was more of a romantic dream rather than a realistic expectation, The Citizens exit from the FA Cup on Monday evening still managed to bitterly disappoint the supporters clad in blue and white propping up our bar. City’s defeat arrived as a consequence of a dreadful error from Kyle Walker on the half-way line that allowed Will Grigg to run through on goal and place home a fine effort from the edge of the area, but John Stones hardly covered himself in glory by failing to position himself correctly as Wigan played the ball forward.
Stones has struggled for consistency since joining the club, as his best spell of form was interrupted by an unfortunate injury earlier this season. The 23-year-old was partnered with City’s January signing Aymeric Laporte on Monday, but their similarities as ball-playing defenders slightly hampered the defensive quality of Guardiola’s back-four.
Aside from Laporte and Stones, City have Vincent Kompany and Nicolas Otamendi available to play at centre-back, both of which are more naturally gifted defenders than the former mentioned pairing. However, Kompany’s crippling problems with injury combined with the fact he will turn 32-years-old in April now leaves Guardiola with the task of replacing the City servant in the near future.
Replacing a player of Kompany’s quality and standing within the club is something of an impossible task, but one player who could be up to the challenge is Napoli’s centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly (valued at £36 million by Transfermarkt). Koulibaly has been a rock at the heart of Napoli’s defence this season, and his performances have been an integral factor in enabling his side to put together a 9-match winning streak in Serie A in recent weeks.
Although Koulibaly is perhaps not as gifted as Laporte or Stones on the ball, he clearly has the technical ability to slot into City’s team and adapt to Guardiola’s philosophy. Considering his importance to the Serie A giants, it’s unlikely that the Senegalese international will come cheap, but City will need to spend big money to effectively replace Kompany, so they should make his signature something of a priority next summer.