Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has revealed that he will target a centre-back or a full-back in the January transfer window to strengthen his squad.
Although his side currently sit in fourth place and are just seven points adrift of Premier League leaders Chelsea after 20 games, it has been a slightly turbulent start to life in England for the Spaniard.
From setbacks on the pitch to his tense post-match interviews earlier this week, things haven’t gone smoothly at the Etihad Stadium, and there are still vulnerabilities in this City squad.
As reported by the Manchester Evening News, Guardiola has conceded that he will try to strengthen where possible this month, and has identified his defence as the priority with a central defender or full-back high on the agenda.
“We are going to play with the team. If we need something it’s at the back, maybe a central defender or full-back,” he told the media, as noted in the report.
“But the other positions we are covered enough, and next season is next season.”
Having conceded 22 goals so far this season, the joint-second worst defensive record out of the top six clubs, it’s clear that the current set-up isn’t providing a solid base for City.
Whether that’s summer signing John Stones falling short of his high standards or the vulnerabilities that come with the likes of Nicolas Otamendi and Aleksandar Kolarov, there is still a need to add solidity with Vincent Kompany continuing to be sidelined by injury.
According to The Express earlier this week, Chelsea were set to launch a £60m bid for Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk in order to beat City to the punch.
Given Guardiola’s latest comments, Antonio Conte could arguably expect stiffer competition to sign the Dutchman, as he would undoubtedly improve either defence and be a major acquisition in this year’s title race and beyond.
If Guardiola is looking for a solution to his problems at the back, then he need not look further than the Saints as Van Dijk is seemingly set to be at the centre of a transfer saga this month.