Manchester City are gearing up for another Premier League title defence as Pep Guardiola looks to win a fifth crown in six seasons.
City wrapped the 2021/22 title on the final day of the season, sensationally coming from 2-0 down to beat Aston Villa 3-2 at a packed and frenetic Etihad Stadium.
But rather than rest on their laurels, City are already working on upgrades to their squad for next season, with an agreement in place for one of the hottest striking properties the modern game has seen.
Here’s how they could line up in the 2022/23 season.
There has been some upheaval in the goalkeeping department for City, although Ederson remains the undisputed number one.
Stefan Ortega has signed on a free transfer from Arminia Bielefeld to play second fiddle, with USMNT stopper Zack Steffen set to join Middlesbrough on loan, 90min understands.
Signing a third-choice goalkeeper could be on the agenda relatively soon too, given Scott Carson is still chugging along in that role.
City’s one relative weak spot – for want of a better phrase – is at left-back. And by weak, 90min means Joao Cancelo – a world-class player who has turned into an incredible asset in that role, but is actually a right-back by trade.
Oleksandr Zinchenko and Nathan Ake have filled in on occasions, but the former is far more comfortable in midfield – that’s where he plays Ukraine – and could leave this summer, while the latter is predominantly a central defender and City are prepared to sell him amid strong interest from Chelsea.
As a result, Brighton’s Marc Cucurella as emerged as a potential target, with the Spaniard hugely impressive during 2021/22. Elsewhere, Ruben Dias, Aymeric Laporte and John Stones look to have the centre-back roles locked down, and Kyle Walker remains a top-class right-back.
City’s real strength in depth is in the centre of the park, although plans are afoot to make sure they continue to build rather than stagnate.
Rodri provides a great screen in front of the back four but club captain and backup Fernandinho has left the club and returned to Brazil after many years of great service. A £45m deal has been agreed for Leeds’ Kalvin Phillips, who comes far cheaper than West Ham’s Declan Rice – another name to have been linked.
Ilkay Gundogan‘s future is uncertain despite his final day heroics last season, meanwhile, but there’s a more stable base of Kevin De Bruyne and Bernardo Silva to call upon. Even Phil Foden can drop in if necessary in more of a quarterback role.
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City have already completed a blockbuster transfer to provide a focal point in attack in the form of Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland, while River Plate starlet Julian Alvarez has already signed on the dotted line.
Foden, Jack Grealish, Riyad Mahrez, are among the riches at City’s forward disposal, but Gabriel Jesus and Raheem Sterling are both set to join Premier League rivals in Arsenal and Chelsea respectively.
Impressive young Cole Palmer could get a look in if Guardiola decides to build on the foundations of his already steady development, but it appears there is space for another attacking signing.