Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher has revealed his belief that incoming Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola has big issues to sort out next season.
City fell to a 1-0 defeat in the Manchester derby on Sunday, a result that now leaves them 14 points adrift of Premier League leaders Leicester City and in a battle to hold on for Champions League qualification for next season.
Guardiola will replace Manuel Pellegrini in the summer, as confirmed in an official announcement in February, but Carragher doesn’t believe that the transition phase will be easy for the Spanish tactician given the age of the current squad.
“This is a team who even last season we talked about as being a great team, with four or five world class players, who were just coming over the hill,” he told Sky Sports.
“They have the oldest squad in the Premier League behind West Brom, now West Brom don’t play two games a week, they play once. This team haven’t got it in them, although they are great players you can see they haven’t got the legs, the energy in them now to keep going in all competitions throughout a season.
“Pep Guardiola will be watching that today. I think he would have been thinking initially he needs three or four players. I think they might need seven or eight.
“You may think I’m going too far with that now, but it’s the age of the squad. The money they’ve spent, and how they can have an age profile like that, is probably mismanagement, perhaps from above Manuel Pellegrini.
“The world class players they have now don’t need replacing, but they need a lot more help.”
Guardiola is widely expected to be backed financially by the club in order to mould the squad into his vision, and having enjoyed great success at Barcelona and Bayern Munich thus far in his managerial career, he has arguably earned the right to have that.
Nevertheless, this could well be the biggest task that he has faced on the bench, as although the likes of Sergio Aguero, David Silva and Yaya Toure remain great players, Carragher’s point about those individuals needing help is a legitimate one.
It remains to be seen how many of the current group survive the summer and continue to play for the club next season, as Guardiola could yet target countless players in order to bring in individuals that he feels are better suited to his system and style of play.
As a result, Carragher’s prediction of perhaps seven or eight players isn’t far off, and now it is question of how feasible it is that City will be able to go out and buy Guardiola’s preferred targets.