Erling Haaland and Julian Alvarez up top, Kalvin Phillips and Bukayo Saka signed June 14, 2022 – Posted in: Soccer
Manchester City are a team who have the potential to be unstoppable next season.
Pep Guardiola’s side have secured back-to-back Premier League titles but have been pushed all the way by rivals Liverpool on the domestic front.
In the Champions League, things haven’t exactly gone to plan as an elusive first European crown continues to evade them, but based on the summer’s transfer activity so far, it’s clear City mean business.
Julian Alvarez has arrived at the Etihad Stadium after his loan spell in Argentina, while a blockbuster £51million deal to bring in Erling Haaland from Borussia Dortmund has also been confirmed.
The 21-year-old is regarded as arguably the top striker in world football and his lethal touch in front of goal could be the difference between being a top-level team and simply unstoppable.
While Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus are expected to move on, City have been heavily linked with three Premier League stars in the shape of Marc Cucurella from Brighton, Kalvin Phillips from Leeds and Bukayo Saka from Arsenal.
If any of those players do make the move, it could be game over for some clubs in the title race.
City’s first team squad in the envy of most in world football, with the Spanish head coach boasting a squad so good that he could name two completely different starting XIs and be a match for almost anyone in the Premier League.
Here’s a look at glorious dilemmas that Guardiola could face going into the new season.
Goalkeeper: Ederson or Zack Steffen
There’s no doubting that City have one of the best goalkeepers in the world in Ederson between the sticks.
His shot-stopping abilities plus his ball-playing style make him a crucial part of Guardiola’s side and with Steffen in reserve, City are in good shape going into the new season.
Right back: Kyle Walker or Joao Cancelo
Admittedly, Walker and Cancelo are two players who would usually be a part of Guardiola’s best XI.
Both players are among the best full-backs in world football and whether they’re playing left-back or right-back, City are blessed with defensive talent and attacking flair that make them a genuine threat from all areas of the pitch.
With Cancelo’s eye for an assist, he’s surely one of the most valuable tools in Guardiola’s armoury.
Left back: Oleksandr Zinchenko or Marc Cucurella
Left-back is one area that Pep will be happy to strengthen.
As well as Cancelo, Zinchenko is fast becoming a very reliable part of Guardiola’s side as as he grows in age he’s clearly growing in confidence.
Brighton’s Marc Cucurella has been linked with a move this summer and based on his impact on the south coast, there’s no doubt that he could be someone with a very bright future if he was to complete a huge move to City this summer.
Centre back: Ruben Dias, Juan Laporte, John Stones or Nathan Ake
Quite simply, City have an embarrassment of riches in the heart of defence with four centre-backs who could walk into most sides in the league.
Dias and Laporte are probably Guardiola’s most trusted options, with the perfect blend of power, leadership and grace on the ball.
That said, with Stones and Ake on standby it’s clear that City are well stocked for whatever challenge comes their way.
Defensive midfielder: Rodri or Kalvin Phillips
Rodri was undoubtedly one of the finds of last summer as he slotted into the deep-lying midfield role seamlessly.
With Fernandinho moving on, Guardiola will be looking for another option in that role with the Leeds star heavily linked.
As we saw under Marcelo Bielsa, Phillips is someone who is more than capable of playing the quarter back role with ease and could be a great option in City’s midfield.
Central midfielder: Ilkay Gundogan, Kevin De Bruyne, Bernardo Silva, Jack Grealish
How Pep goes about picking his best XI with players like this in his ranks, I’ll never know.
De Bruyne and Bernardo Silva are certainly among City’s top stars and they’ll be chosen to play in the biggest match.
However there’s little doubt that Gundogan and Grealish are both trusted as well and may even be options to slot in elsewhere in the team if an opening emerges.
Right winger: Riyad Mahrez or Cole Palmer
Ongoing speculation regarding the future of Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus means that the club’s attacking line could look different this term.
Palmer certainly showed glimpses of real quality last term and could be set for an increased role in Guardiola’s plans going into next season.
With Mahrez the other option coming off the right flank, City will be delighted with the quality available from the inside forward in their squad.
Left winger: Phil Foden or Bukayo Saka
Like so many others in the team, Foden is a player who could play just about anywhere in Guardiola’s XI.
His quality means that he’ll be a near-certain starter next season if he can stay fit.
Saka has been linked with a move to City and if he does decide that he wants to play Champions League football this term, there’s no doubt that the versatile Arsenal star would hit the ground running for Premier League champions.
Centre forward: Erling Haaland or Julian Alvarez
Two new stars who will get City fans salivating at the prospect of seeing them in action.
Haaland is the ultimate all-round forward with pace, power and one of the sharpest shots in world football, making him a threat for any defender that he comes across.
As for Alvarez, the 22-year-old certainly isn’t just coming in as a squad player with the poacher undoubtedly a player who will be trusted to lead City’s line in some big matches this term.
Here are the two starting XIs that Guardiola could select this term.
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