Man City UNCOVERED: Pep Guardiola targets THESE mega signings to dominate Premier League rivals - 7M sport

Man City UNCOVERED: Pep Guardiola targets THESE mega signings to dominate Premier League rivals

PEP GUARDIOLA is already planning to make newly-crowned champions Manchester City even stronger for next season.


Posted Tuesday, April 17, 2018 by Express.co.uk

Man City UNCOVERED: Pep Guardiola targets THESE mega signings to dominate Premier League rivals
A host of top players are being linked with Manchester City

City want to stay ahead of the chasing pack in the Premier League and make a renewed bid to lift the Champions League for the first time.

Guardiola has already splashed nearly £450m in two seasons in charge at the Etihad and will be handed another huge transfer kitty by the club's Abu Dhabi owners to strengthen all three departments of his team - defence, midfield and attack.

Manchester City wanted Kylian Mbappe last summer and are ready to pounce if Paris St Germain fall foul of UEFA's financial fair play rules and are forced to abandon their plan to turn the France wonderboy's loan deal from Monaco into a £167m permanent move this summer.

That appears unlikely at the moment, but City have other attacking targets to provide competition and cover for Sergio Aguero, who will be 30 in June, and Brazilian youngster Gabriel Jesus, who have both had long spells out injured this season.

They could renew their interest in Riyad Mahrez after having a £60m offer rejected by Leicester in January, and they will continue to monitor Eden Hazard's situation at Chelsea.

With Fernandinho turning 33 next month, David Silva now 32 and Yaya Toure leaving at the end of the season, Guardiola needs to bring in a couple of midfielders and continue his policy of bringing down the age level of his squad.

Shakthar Donetsk's Brazilian Fred - who impressed against City in the Champions League group games earlier this season - Napoli's Jorginho and Borussia Dortmund's Julian Weigl are all being considered as anchormen, while Guardiola would love to be reunited with the more creative Thiago Alcantara, who he worked with at both Barcelona and Bayern Munich.

At the back, Guardiola will be boosted by the return of Benjamin Mendy, who was injured just four games into his City career, but he still needs top-quality cover at left-back where Fabian Delph and Oleks Zinchenko filled in.

The £57m club-record signing of Aymeric Laporte in January and Vincent Kompany's return to fitness, plus the presence of John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi, mean he doesn't need a centre-half.

But he might need a No 2 goalkeeper if Claudio Bravo decides he wants more regular first-team football - although the Chilean did play all of City's Carabao Cup and FA Cup games.

The next step for City is conquering Europe. They have come up short in the Champions League in their two seasons under Guardiola but their player of the season Kevin De Bruyne doesn't think they are far away.

And he expects the club to strengthen to take them up another level in Europe as well as to help them become the first team to win back-to-back Premier League titles since Manchester United won three in a row between 2006 and 2009.

"Of course, it's important for the club to add new players and to keep getting stronger. That's true for all teams," said the Belgium international.

"We have a great group of players right now and with a few additions here and there hopefully that will take us to another level. Competition will be even tougher next season and we have to be ready for that, not only in the Premier League but in the Champions League and the cup competitions too.

"If we want to keep achieving competition for places is a good thing and only makes you improve as a player."

While City want to continue their domestic dominance, De Bruyne admits the Champions League is the club's holy grail. In seven attempts so far they have reached one semi-final, one quarter-final, three last-16 rounds and gone out in the group stages twice.

De Bruyne added: "Of course, that is the next step for us. We have played some great games in the Champions League and we've not been too far away.

"Maybe we haven't gone as far as we would have liked but there have been some performances along the way that show we could do something special in the future.

"It's great to play at the highest level and success doesn't come easy when you are playing against teams who have been around it for so many years, but we've improved a little on last season and we will look to do the same again next year.

"It's what we all want - to do the best we can in all competitions."

In a decade under Sheikh Mansour's ownership, City have relentlessly pursued success - the honours board so far reads three League titles, three League Cups, the FA Cup and the FA Community Shield.

Jose Mourinho warned recently that if City keep spending it will be difficult to stop them dominating English football for years. His fears look well founded.

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