Pep Plans Rebuild on Squad to Challenge Liverpool

Pep Guardiola admits that is squad is getting old and some of the 'dead wood' has to go to stand any chance of catching the dominant force that is Liverpool FC for next season.

As Pep's team will provide the customary guard of honour in tonight's mouth watering game tonight, Pep will not only be analysing the game unfold in front of him but also be considering those places where he must improve. His team are 23 points behind the Premier Champions.

Pep has made it clear he wants new blood for at least one centre back:

“We’d like to stay with the players who gave us what they did for the last decade and to be eternal, but we grow in years and sometimes we have to do it and replace them with new players,” Guardiola, 49, said.

“We have to rebuild. It happens at clubs around the world. We have to accept it and try to take the right decisions to try to maintain the level that we have. We have exceptional players [but] after the season finishes we will reflect.”

Players at risk

Pep wants a move for Nicolás Otamendi, the 32-year-old Argentinian, and offers for John Stones who has hardly had a lookin of late.  

David Silva, the 34-year-old captain, is leaving at the end of the season and Claudio Bravo, 37, is out of contract. A full back will be pursued if João Cancelo, who has failed to dislodge Kyle Walker from the team, decides to leave.

Guardiola admitted that Sergio Agüero, 32, and the 35-year-old Fernandinho could leave at the end of the next campaign

Pep's Wanted List

Kalidou Koulibaly, the Napoli defender, Pau Torres of Villarreal, and Benfica’s Ruben Días are among the centre halves that City are interested in.

Guardiola also defended the club’s decision to sell Leroy Sané, one of the young stars in the squad, to Bayern Munich for £55 million after he rejected three new contract offers from City.

Liverpool v Manchester City Statistics

If Liverpool continue their present form, they will collect 106 points, which is six more than City’s record 100-point total from two seasons ago.

If City keep averaging two points per game —as they roughly are now — they will end the campaign 29 points behind Liverpool on 77. The previous biggest gap between first and second at the end of a season is 19 points, City ahead of Manchester United in 2018.

City’s standards have slipped against their rivals. This season they have claimed 13 points from a possible 27 against the established “big six” clubs. Last season they took 25 points from a possible 30.

More reading see The Times




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