Photo by Олег Дубина // CC BY-SA 3.0
It has been reported that Manchester City are, sensationally, the ones holding up the completion of a deal for Juventus full-back Joao Cancelo. Although the Citizens have agreed a fee with Juve for Cancelo’s services, Pep Guardiola is concerned that the club must shift Brazilian defender Danilo off the club’s wage bill before Cancelo’s switch can be completed. With negotiations somewhat hitting the buffers, it begs the question as to whether Juve will be prepared to be patient and wait for City. If the alleged £50m move falls through, Guardiola could find himself scrabbling to find an alternative.
Here are four possible recruits that could fill the void and provide competition for Kyle Walker.
Dani Alves is tempted by the Premier League
Dani Alves is reportedly tempted by one final challenge of winning a title in the English Premier League. The EPL is undoubtedly the biggest football brand on the planet, with sports broadcasters and sportsbooks old and new, including the upcoming Fox Bet, offering a plethora of markets on everything from yellow cards and corner kicks to relegation and manager sackings. Alves has played in La Liga and Serie A, so one last hurrah in the spotlight of the EPL would seem like a final career box ticked.
City’s top-four rivals, Arsenal have also been heavily linked with the Brazilian, who is rumoured to be willing to take a pay cut to a measly £200,000-a-week to sign for the Gunners. However, even this figure could prove beyond the reach of Arsenal’s 2019/20 budget which seems heavily restricted by the club’s hierarchy.
Matt Doherty would be a progressive wildcard choice
What a fantastic first season back in the top flight it was for Wolverhampton Wanderers. A comfortable top-half finish was rich reward for the Gold and Blacks, who showed zero fear upon their return to the Premier League. One of their most surprising top performers was Irish right-back Matt Doherty. The former Bohemians defender was involved in 18 of Wanderers’ goals last season, either as a goal scorer or an assister. His displays didn’t go unnoticed at international level either, with Republic of Ireland boss Mick McCarthy giving Doherty two appearances this summer in the EURO 2020 qualifying campaign.
Doherty might not be an extravagant or cosmopolitan signing for Guardiola, but he would certainly make sense. His attacking instincts would marry well with Pep’s desire for forward-thinking full-backs. As second fiddle to Walker, City could do far worse than sign Doherty who’s progressed at a somewhat later stage in his career than most.
Ricardo Pereira impressed in his debut season in the Prem
25-year-old Portuguese full-back Ricardo Pereira is another to have made an instant impression in his first full year in the Premier League. The signing from Porto was named Leicester’s Player of the Season and Players’ Player of the Season, such is the high regard in which he is held by fans and teammates alike. His tremendous engine and direct style would certainly add more cut and thrust to City’s right-hand side.
Interestingly, Juventus are reportedly lining up Pereira as a direct replacement for Joao Cancelo, should he complete his switch to City. However, if the Cancelo deal ends up being dead, City could have a clear run on snaring him from the Foxes. City have been in negotiations with Leicester already this pre-season regarding the availability of centre half Harry Maguire, but that deal looks highly unlikely given Guardiola’s faith in messers Stones and Laporte.
Max Aarons was a key player in Norwich City’s title-winning campaign
Versatile right-back Max Aarons is another player that will be on City’s radar following his stunning season with Championship champions Norwich. Although The Telegraph revealed that the 19-year-old recently agreed a new five-year contract with the Canaries, every player has his price. Norwich could well have insisted on a minimum fee release clause that City will have to meet to talk terms with Aarons.
Aarons is regarded as one of the hottest defensive talents in the country and could be groomed as a long-term replacement for Kyle Walker. Tottenham and Manchester United have also been linked with him in recent weeks. Whoever comes in will have to accept that Walker remains ‘top dog’ for now in Pep’s eyes, but competition for places is something Guardiola places huge value on so expect any new recruit to push Kyle hard.