Manchester City are 15 points clear at the top of the Premier League, undefeated and scoring for fun. Rather than question whether they can win the title, taking that as a given, most are asking if Pep Guardiola’s side can complete the season unbeaten.
It’s fair to say, of all the teams in the Premier League, City are in the least need of reinforcements when the transfer window re-opens. Their squad is packed with talent in all areas, and even their backup players have been delivering the goods.
But City have never been afraid to splash the cash. While there is no glaring area of weakness in their squad, Guardiola might be tempted to whip out the chequebook in January to make a couple of key additions, further boosting his side’s Premier League and Champions League hopes.
Without a natural left-back to deputise for summer signing Benjamin Mendy, currently out long-term with a knee ligament injury, this could be one area for improvement.
Centre-back, also, where Vincent Kompany‘s injury history means he cannot be relied upon. And Fernandinho has been outstanding in the defensive midfield position, but İlkay Gündoğan has also struggled with injuries, so depth in this area would not go amiss.
With all of that in mind, we’ve highlighted five players who would be suitable Manchester City transfer targets in January.
Kevin Vogt – CB –Hoffenheim
If Guardiola is to move for a centre-back in the mid-season window, he will be very selective in who he targets. The Catalan tactician will want a defender who is comfortable on the ball, a fine passer and capable of stepping forward into midfield zones.
He will also want someone able to play in both a back four and a back three, and capable of operating in a high defensive line.
Hoffenheim vice-captain Kevin Vogt ticks all of those boxes. The 26-year-old, as a converted midfielder, is a fantastic, incisive passer. He is also experienced enough to be the calm head alongside promising young centre-back John Stones and can marshal a backline.
Íñigo Martínez – CB – Real Sociedad
Íñigo Martínez fulfils the criteria for a Guardiola defender, too. The Real Sociedad defender, also 26, has six full seasons of top-flight experience under his belt and a thoroughly reasonable release clause set at around the £30million mark.
The four-cap Spain international was one of La Liga’s brightest young defenders when he first broke into the first team in San Sebastián and was linked with Real Madrid several times.
No such move materials for the centre-back, though, and he has been La Real‘s defensive linchpin for several years now.
Linked with Barcelona in the summer, City might face stiff competition for Martínez if Guardiola decides to make a move.
Alejandro Grimaldo – LB – Benfica
Former La Masia standout Alejandro Grimaldo never got a first-team chance at the Camp Nou, progressing as far as Barça’s B team before leaving for Benfica in 2016.
Barcelona could come to regret allowing the gifted young full-back to leave Catalonia, however. Injuries have hampered his progress somewhat in Portugal, but Grimaldo impresses whenever he plays.
A reported City target a year ago, the 22-year-old from Valencia would be a perfect fit for Guardiola’s side if they decides to purchase a fourth full-back in the space of six months.
Ryan Sessegnon – LB – Fulham
He doesn’t turn 18 until May of next year, but several top clubs are already monitoring Fulham star Ryan Sessegnon, with a big-money move certainly in the young man’s not-too-distant future.
Fast, athletic and technically outstanding, the England Under-19 international has starred at left-back for the Craven Cottage club, but many feel his future lies further forward.
Sessegnon marked his 50th senior appearance by netting a hat-trick against Sheffield United in November, as he continues to overshoot his already lofty expectations.
Leander Dendoncker – DM – Anderlecht
Reportedly a Manchester United transfer target, Leander Dendoncker is becoming one of the most wanted midfielders in Europe.
The 22-year-old Belgian international was the midfield enforcer of Anderlecht’s title triumph last season and stood out against United in the Europa League, scoring a bullet header in the first leg.
Valued at €37million by his club, Dendoncker is set to be one of the next big Belgian stars to shine in one of Europe’s major leagues.
His technical attributes, versatility – he has featured as a centre-back in a back three at times this term – and maturity would make him ideal for Guardiola’s complex tactical system at the Etihad.
If City want Dendoncker, though, they might have to fight off rival interest from their cross-city neighbours, while big-spending AC Milan have also been linked.
Moving for Dendoncker in January could prove wise business, however, as a strong showing with Belgium at next year’s World Cup could see his value skyrocket.