Manchester City’s main transfer target this January will be a centre-half, with Southampton’s Virgil van Dijk currently the top option, although the club also want to sign a number-six and a forward - still likely Alexis Sanchez - over the next six months.
Both Pep Guardiola and director of football Txiki Begiristain met with chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak when the latter flew in at the weekend, sitting ahead of the 4-1 win over Tottenham Hotspur to talk about the next 18 months of planning.
While their ongoing interest in Sanchez was discussed, it is understood that Guardiola is now no longer so intent on signing the Chilean this season, as he is content with the chemistry and integration of his attack.
While he is mindful of the opportunity to win four trophies and the possibility to push for that by signing the Chilean, he is also wary of potentially disrupting that harmony with such a signing. City similarly feel they can afford to wait a bit longer on Sanchez and that he would still come to the Etihad when his contract is up at the end of the season, although any possible change on that could still see their stance move.
Paris Saint-Germain have an interest in the striker, too, and that could yet force their hand. City also want another number-six to complement Fernandinho, especially as Yaya Toure’s own contract runs out in the summer, and he is set to leave. The club also expect Sergio Aguero to stay.
The profile of the squad does mean that there won’t be the same high expenditure as in the summer of 2017 over the next two windows, but Guardiola does want to bring in another central defender next month, due to the problems that have arisen when one is injured.
Van Dijk is the top target, and it is understood Southampton might be willing to do business, with the City hierarchy highly mindful of the problems that arose with Liverpool’s very public interest with the Dutch centre-half in the summer.
Guardiola is also conscious of the partnership that Nicolas Otamendi and John Stones have struck up, too, although any decision will be based on what suits the club’s medium-term future rather than immediate concerns. If they cannot get Van Dijk, Real Sociedad’s Inigo Martinez and West Brom’s Jonny Evans are options.
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies