Gary Neville thinks that Manchester City will bolster their defensive ranks in the January transfer market, saying their current threadbare squad isn’t good enough to challenge domestically or in Europe.
The reigning Premier League champions came into the 2019/20 campaign already looking a little light at the back, with Vincent Kompany deciding against renewing his deal, while Eliaquim Mangala was also allowed to leave, with no defensive replacements being brought in.
They baulked at paying Leicester‘s £80 million asking price for Harry Maguire, the England international subsequently moving across the city to Manchester United, but were quickly made to rue that decision, with key defender Aymeric Laporte being ruled out until well into the new year.
The injury to the Frenchman was quickly compounded when Barnsley born defender John Stones was also ruled out for a number of weeks, leaving Nicolas Otamendi as their only recognised senior centre-back, with holding midfielder Fernandinho being drafted in to play alongside the Argentine in defence.
Former Man Utd and England defender Gary Neville reckons that the injuries will see Man City be forced to splash the cash when the January window opens.
“You have to think that City will spend in January,” Neville told Sky Sports. “I saw this morning that Guardiola said they didn’t have any money. Well, they’ve got more than everybody else.
“They bought Aymeric Laporte in January a year and a half ago, and I feel that they’re going to have to do the same again.
“This won’t be good enough for the Champions League or the Premier League. Guardiola will know it – he knows the standard more than anybody.”
City have often splashed large sums on players since their Abu Dhabi takeover back in 2008, the last few years have seen Pep Guardiola’s side refuse to be drawn into paying over the odds for players, though Neville thinks someone of the calibre of Vincent Kompany will be ‘difficult to replace’.
“They’ve set limits, and perhaps it’s not so much the fee, but the wages that will be demanded to attract the right type of player, which is making the Manchester City hierarchy nervous and stay within a structure,” he added.
“But with Vincent Kompany going, it leaves a huge void, not just on the pitch but off it. There aren’t too many players like him around, and he’s difficult to replace.”