Pep Guardiola starting Manchester City clear-out as veteran on verge of exit

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Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola will need to offload several players this summer, and defensive stalwart Pablo Zabaleta looks to be among the first to go.

The Spanish tactician was introduced to the club’s supporters on Sunday at a special event, and he arrives knowing that much work needs to be done.

Having already signed Ilkay Gundogan and Nolito, more new faces are expected to arrive at the Etihad in the coming weeks, although that also means that some will have to go to create space in the squad.

According to Corriere dello Sport, Zabaleta is on the verge of signing a three-year contract worth €2.5m per season with Roma, and will meet with City officials either on Monday or Tuesday to push the move through.

It’s unlikely that the 31-year-old will command a significant transfer fee, with €3m suggested by the Italian media outlet.

The Argentine international joined City in 2008, and formed an integral part of their success in recent years as he established himself as one of the first names on the team-sheet.

However, having been restricted to just 22 appearances in all competitions last season, his time in Manchester is likely to come to an end with Guardiola considering other options in a crucial area of the pitch.

In contrast, Roma will likely benefit from his experience and defensive solidity next season, with Luciano Spalletti looking to build on their third-place finish in Serie A last year.

The former Espanyol ace made almost 200 league appearances for City during his time with the club, helping them to two Premier League titles and an FA Cup.

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