Guardiola confirmed on Friday that Laporte could be sidelined for the next six months. The France Under-21 international suffered a knee cartilage injury in the 4-0 win against Brighton and Hove Albion before the international break.
Laporte’s injury leaves the Premier League champions with just John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi as fit, senior and established centre-halves. Vincent Kompany was allowed to leave at the end of last season and was not replaced but Fernandinho, naturally a midfielder, is likely to drop deeper and fill in. Youngsters Eric Garcia and Taylor Hartwood-Bellis may be promoted to the first-team squad.
Guardiola believes that will be enough to cope until Laporte’s return, which could come as late as March. “My advice to you is not to write too many names about the winter transfer window, because you are going to make a mistake,” he said on Friday, ahead of the trip to Norwich City.
“I don’t think it’s going to happen. I heard already we are interested in this player or the other player. I would like to say to all the clubs in the world: don’t be nervous, because we are not interested in any players or central defenders in Europe.
“We are going to survive with the players we have. Maybe in December we are going to start to think about it [ahead of next summer’s window], maybe. But we could not invest in this situation in the summer, we cannot do it in winter.
“That’s why we are going to wait with the players we have, with the two central defenders, with Fernandinho, with Eric Garcia and Taylor Hartwood-Bellis, even some players in different positions we can use there. We’re going to move forward.”
Laporte’s absence represents an opportunity for Stones to reestablish himself as one of Guardiola’s first-choice centre-halves. The England international fell out of favour towards the end of last season, starting just three times in the league during the final three months of the campaign.
“I think the personality is always there,” Guardiola said regarding Stones on Friday, when asked whether it was time for the defender to take greater responsibility. “There’s a guy who in the first season made some mistakes and always try again and try again so I don’t have doubts about his personality.
“The only problem when John Stones is sometimes I decide for Nico and sometimes for Vinnie… They know exactly the qualities they have and the personality that they have so I don’t have any doubts about the quality of all the players that I have – John included.”
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