Keep, loan or replace? Five players Man City can realistically afford to offload

Keep, loan or replace? Five players Man City can realistically afford to offload

With Manchester City set to canter to the league title, Pep Guardiola can afford to focus on fine-tuning his squad.

So with the January transfer window nearly at its halfway point, we got AskFans‘ Manchester City expert James Iberson-Hurst to give his verdict on five players the City boss could afford to move on in January – be that permanently or on loan.

Phil Foden

It has been a long time coming that a new homegrown talent has emerged through City’s ranks, and in Phil Foden it looks as if all signs are pointing towards a very successful career.

Guardiola has shown a penchant for giving opportunities to academy products in the past, and with Foden having already made a handful of appearances for the Blues this season, he looks to be the next one to be given the Spaniard’s seal of approval.

Verdict – Keep

Key stat…

Phil Foden is the 31st player to be given a first-team debut by Pep Guardiola.

Key quote…

“It’s a long time since I saw something like [Foden]. His performance was another level. He’s 17 years old, he’s a City player, he grew up in the academy, he loves the club, he’s a City fan and for us he’s a gift.” – Pep Guardiola, 21 July 2017

Eliaquim Mangala

Despite not being able to convince Guardiola, or the fans, of his ability to consistently perform at the level expected at a club like City, the lack of depth in the centre of defence means Mangala will have a part to play until significant reinforcements are drawn in.

Following injuries to both Kompany and Stones, the Frenchman’s game-time has steadily increased – and while still competing on all four fronts this campaign, this trend will likely continue.

Verdict – Keep

Key stat…

Eliaquim Mangala has a 92% pass accuracy in the Premier League this season.

Key quote…

“[Mangala] is our player and he is going to stay here in the winter break […] I am really impressed about his behaviour in the training sessions. He hasn’t played regularly until now and he has always accepted it.” – Pep Guardiola, November 2017

Yaya Toure

While Yaya Toure has become a greatly adored figure at the Etihad, it is clear that he is increasingly falling down the pecking order under Guardiola.

Given the towering central midfielder’s wages, it would be wise to reinvest the current outlay spent on Toure on the squad’s younger talent or through bringing some fresh faces to Manchester.

Verdict – Replace

Key stat…

Key quote…

“Everything is good at Man City. He will 100 per cent stay at City in January. He wants to be a three-time champion of the Premier League, but he is also enjoying using his experience to help the young players at the club.” – Yaya Toure’s agent, Dimitry Seluk, December 2017

Oleksandr Zinchenko

The young Ukranian has had to wait in the wings prior to this season, but has since found a way into the side following the injury to first-choice left-back Benjamin Mendy. Still second choice behind Delph, and out of his usual midfield position, he has seemingly done enough to convince the manager of his worth as a squad player.

At the age of 21, Zinchenko has years ahead of him, and hopefully under the tutelage of Guardiola we may see him shine in whatever capacity he is used.

Verdict – Keep

Key stat…

Key quote…

“We will see what happens but obviously it is what I am working towards. My first goal is to stay here – this is my home and I want to play for City. It won’t be easy to break into this team, but I’m working hard towards my goal and I want to be a positive influence at the Club, on the training ground and in the dressing room and contribute in whichever way I can.” – Oleksandr Zinchenko, October 2017

Vincent Kompany

Though injuries have taken their toll on the club captain, he is still a valuable part of the side when fit. With a dearth of defensive options available to Guardiola, it is imperative that the Belgian stays and plays his part when available. Kompany is also one of the few remaining members of the squad to come full circle in the transition of Manchester City, and the fans will want to keep him as part of that for as long as is possible.

Verdict – Keep

Key stat…

Over the last four seasons Vincent Kompany has started only 56 Premier League games – that’s out of a possible 152.

Key quote…

“Vincent is in this situation, always is injured. He fights a lot to be ready, but sometimes he’s not able to be consistently fit and we have just three central defenders for four competitions. Maybe we need one more guy for that position and we are talking about that – but of course in winter time is so complicated.” – Pep Guardiola, December 2017