Guardiola to be handed January cash

Manchester City
Manchester City will hand a late fitness to John Stones ahead of tonight's Champions League showdown with Schalke.

Pep Guardiola could have as much as £60m to spend in January if a replacement for former Manchester City skipper Vincent Kompany is identified.

The City boss spent £125m during the summer window bringing in midfielder Rodri from Atletico Madrid and right-back Joao Cancelo from Juventus.

He raised eyebrows, however, after insisting the Citizens could not compete with rivals Manchester United for the £80m capture of defender Harry Maguire from Leicester City.

The Premier League champions generated summer sales of around £70m in total – with the most high-profile departures being Danilo, Douglas Luiz and Fabian Delph.

And club insiders have stated that cash is still available should Guardiola and his scouting network feel they need to move quicker on a Kompany successor, who quit City at the end of last season after 11 years to become player-manager of Anderlecht.

The Catalan has stated he could even utilise midfielder Fernandinho in a centre-back role, if required, although he remains convinced John Stones and Aymeric Laporte can build a long-standing partnership at the heart of the City rearguard.

 

 

Stones is now entering the peak years of his career and, at 25, will hope to be the player that the manager builds his defence around for many years.

The England man has slightly flown under the radar after the emergence of Maguire but remains a talented player and someone who Guardiola rates highly.

While the manager might be handed cash to spend in the New Year, it is open to debate as to whether he would be able to use it on another stopper as it is tough to find top-class players during the January transfer window as clubs are not willing to sell.

The European heavyweights are usually still involved in the Champions League and it would benefit neither party to sell a key player who would then not be able to feature in the rest of that competition.

City have recruited wisely in recent years and borne the fruit with back-to-back Premier League titles, and it is unlikely that the Spanish tactician would be frivolous with the cheque book to sign a player unless he was top drawer.

With that in mind, it seems likely that he will stick with what he has and hope that Stones can prove to be the rock at the back that Kompany was for so many years.

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