Here are your Manchester City evening headlines for Saturday, 26 September.
City confirm Couto loan
After securing a move to Manchester City earlier in the summer transfer window, young Brazilian prospect Yan Couto has already been loaned out.
The 18-year-old, who cost £5.5million earlier in the summer and was hoping to impress Pep Guardiola in a pre-season that he never got due to the coronavirus, will join Girona in Italy. He is the third City player to make a loan switch to Girona this summer.
Couto knew that this was always the plan, though.
“Right at the beginning of negotiations with City, first hand, they wanted to loan me [out]. But it was not what I wanted and so I had a preference for Bayern and Barcelona, who would use me in the first team,” he told Globo Esporte after signing for City.
“When it was alright to go to Barça, I had already decided, at the last minute Pep saw my games, he really liked my style of play, what I did at the Worlds [Under-17 World Cup]. Then my representative at City, Cadu, asked why he was going to Barça… So he managed to get me to the first team at City and go to play with Pep, who had the opportunity to do the pre-season with Guardiola.
“I know that I am new, that they have great selection players in the squad, I know that I have to be patient, that I have to evolve, adapt in Europe, but I think that in a short time I may be playing, entering games, playing in Cups.”
City face the same challenge again
As City squandered their Premier League title defence last season, Guardiola’s side failed to meet the challenge that an excellent Liverpool laid down as the circumstances around the team caused problems.
From injuries at centre-back to an ongoing legal case with UEFA, City dealt with a range of extremely challenging developments. They were unable to overcome these on the pitch.
And now, starting this season, they face similar difficulties. Not only have they suffered crucial injuries, including to Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus, but the shortened preseason after their European exploits in August and an extremely difficult opening slate of fixtures has given Guardiola plenty of hurdles to navigate early on.
Last season, City faltered as a result of such difficulties off the pitch. This season, Guardiola and his players must show that they can respond.
You can read a full analysis of the challenges facing City early on this season here.
Analysing centre-back options
As negotiations for Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly stall, City are set to turn their attention to other targets, with Ruben Dias and Jules Kounde named as potential targets.
Koulibaly is the most experienced of the trio, and also the most expensive, but Dias, 23, and Kounde, 21, provide intriguing alternatives that City could explore in the coming days as they look to add to Nathan Ake at the centre-back position.
But what would each provide, if they were brought to the Etihad, and which might be City’s best option to target?
The M.E.N’s City writer Joe Bray delved into the statistics to investigate which of the three could be City’s best option. He concluded that Dias offers an intriguing blend of both Koulibaly and Kounde, with a little more experience than the latter without the price tag of the former.
You can read Bray’s full analysis here.