Man City transfers: Five defenders Citizens could sign in January
Man City transfers: Paddy Dinham takes a look at five defenders the Citizens could sign in January transfer window
Certainly not the cheapest option on the market but in three summers of bargain hunting a reliable partner for Vincent Kompany has not been found. The money Manchester City lavished upon their front line this summer has reaped serious rewards and they may be tempted to give their back line a similar makeover. Sergio Ramos would bring experience of playing and winning at the highest level, yet at 27, he is still very much in his peak physically. He is effective in the air and exceptionally quick with the ball at his feet. Real Madrid are currently at odds with Ramos over his demands to match Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo’s wages and he is also unhappy at not being played in central defence, meaning City could take advantage of his £41m release clause. Should these issues with his club be resolved then it is difficult to see moving from the Bernabeu but City would have no issues matching his wage demands or playing him in his preferred position.
An ever-present of Villarreal’s ascension into fifth place in La Liga, the 23-year-old Argentine has been turning some heads along the way. The former River Plate defender is a strong tackler and more well-suited to the physical demands of the Premier League than Martin Demichelis. On paper Mateo Musacchio would be a great addition to the squad but sceptics may look at the likes of Stefan Savic and Matija Nastasic – other young and relatively untested defenders who have struggled to perform consistently. There are also several other parties determined to see the move fail: Villarreal President Fernando Roig has slapped a £50m asking price on his head and the likes of Barcelona and Chelsea are also eager to outbid the Citizens. All this may however merely serve as a testament of his ability and if Pellegrini wants a January quick-fix, Musacchio may be the most promising option.
Kurt Zouma has been one of the worst-kept secrets of French football since he made his St Etienne debut aged just 16. Since then he has been a mainstay in a team that has twice finished inside the top seven and also qualified for this season’s Europa League play-offs, putting himself on the fringes of the French national squad in the meantime. That is no mean feat considering he is still only 19 and he is showing no signs of why he cannot become one of Europe’s top defenders. He is still however very much maturing and this is something Pellegrini will have to heavily consider should he choose to bring him in – Zouma is currently serving a 10-match ban for a horror tackle that left Sochaux’s Thomas Guerbert with a broken leg. With a value of roughly £10m, Zouma does represent the cheapest option and with the most longevity to boot, he may arrive before that suspension is even completed.
Another marquee name that the Blues would have to be willing to spend big on, Hummels’ name has been linked with just about every top club side in Europe. He was the foundation of Borussia Dortmund’s consecutive Bundesliga successes in 2011 and 2012 and was a regular during their run to last season’s Champions League final. Mats Hummels is a towering centre-half who also likes to start attacks from defence. At 25, he still has his best years ahead of him and could form a frightening partnership with Kompany for years to come. Dortmund’s qualification for the Champions League knockout stages may prove a stumbling block however, as would the fact that injury has limited him to just eight league appearances this campaign. A January move may be unlikely but they will certainly use it as a time to keep tabs on him and if Dortmund are once again eclipsed on all fronts by Bayern Munich, the vultures may begin to circle over their squad.
Not the centre-back that Manchester City currently need but simply too hot a talent to be ignored. Luke Shaw gained comparisons with Gareth Bale as soon as he broke into the Southampton squad last year for his blistering pace but in truth he plays nothing like the Welshman. He is capable of beating players at will but is also much more defensively sound. His decision-making of when to attack and when to drop deep to cover a gap belie his 18 years and has been a major factor in the transformation of the Saints’ defence this season. Strong and capable in the air, he already looks the complete defender and having already proved himself to be more-than-capable at this level he could play a significant role in the first team. Despite this, Gael Clichy and Aleksandar Kolarov would be likely to remain ahead of him in the pecking order and that combined with Nicola Cortese’s reluctance to sell may put them off. Whoever does eventually secure his signature will be getting a left-back who has the ability to win trophies for a generation.