Bravo IN, Aguero OUT - who Man City could sell this summer

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More than half the current squad are not yet assured of their places next season, making it a very intriguing summer at the Etihad Stadium


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Manchester City always planned to overhaul their squad over two summer transfer windows but it appears the majority of the work will be done in the coming months.

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City managed, in part, to move on their highest-profile misfits last summer, with Samir Nasri, Eliaquim Mangala, Wilfried Bony and Joe Hart sent out on loan.

But as well as having to find them permanent homes in the coming months, City will also need to make decisions over six senior players who are out of contract, several squad players who have struggled for minutes this season and a number of young players who have been out on loan.

In truth, there are less than 10 senior players who will definitely be at the club next season.

And does that include Sergio Aguero? 


KEEP AT ALL COSTS


Leroy Sane Gabriel Jesus Manchester City

This is a short and easy list to reel off. Raheem Sterling, Leroy Sane, Gabriel Jesus, Kevin De Bruyne, John Stones, Ilkay Gundogan and David Silva will be key figures of the City squad next season, barring major shocks.

Talk of Gabriel Jesus going to Inter was as short-lived as it was far-fetched.

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Fernandinho will be in the final year of his contract next season and is almost certain to stick around.

Aleksandar Kolarov, who is also out of contract next summer, is not every fan’s cup of tea but Pep Guardiola is a big admirer of his character and, with so many other defenders moving on, he will be a useful squad member in the short-term future.

The vast majority of City fans will argue that Aguero fits into the category of “keep at all costs”, and with 164 goals for the club since he arrived in 2011 it is hard to argue against that, especially when his commitment to the cause has never been questioned. But the reality is that his future is far from assured. 


OPEN TO OFFERS


Sergio Aguero Manchester City

‘Open to offers’ might be a bit of a stretch when it comes to Aguero but there is still significant doubt over whether he will be at the club beyond the end of this season.

The Argentine’s overall contribution to the team has improved greatly in recent weeks, something which Guardiola has been pleased with, but whether that will be enough to keep him at the club is yet to be revealed.

City have always maintained that Guardiola merely wants Aguero to up his game and that he is not for sale at any cost, though Aguero himself has suggested they have not made him aware of that intention and that there will be a meeting at the end of the season.

City have also been looking for big-name strikers since Guardiola arrived, and are confident of landing Alexis Sanchez this summer, while Goal revealed earlier this year that Aguero’s representatives have been open to enquiries from other clubs.

While it is very much a possibility that Aguero will stay, it is also a possibility that he could leave - and for a sum of money which would help finance City’s rebuild.

Another big decision will have to be made over Vincent Kompany. The captain returned to action against Chelsea recently but Guardiola did not believe he could play the next game against Hull City.

Kompany has of course struggled with injuries over the past two seasons and, this time last year, the club would have let him go had a suitable offer arrived. Another injury, sustained in May, scuppered those plans, and the Belgian has started just six matches since, meaning it is hard to see why the club would have changed their stance given he has very rarely been an option.

As he showed against Chelsea he still has much to offer when fit, but he is so rarely fit these days that a decision will have to be made. How he finishes the season is likely to have a major bearing.

Nolito Fabian Delph Manchester City Champions League

Elsewhere, there are a number of other players who could make way to younger, more versatile replacements.

Nolito, having started the season well, has tailed off dramatically and it would be no surprise if he is moved on after a solitary season in England.

It is a similar story for Claudio Bravo, although it is believed the Chilean is happy in Manchester and is not thinking about a move, while Guardiola is likely to give him a chance behind a new-look defence next season. The phrase "but his footwork is good" has often been used mockingly this season but it is very true, and if he can make the kind of saves he has made throughout his career then he will be a huge asset to the club.

If he does stay then it could mean Willy Caballero is moved on. The club are willing to offer the Argentine a new contract, but he would want to be No.1 next season and that appears unlikely.

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Fernando has had to make do with late substitute appearances this season - even with Ilkay Gundogan injured - and he could be a casualty in midfield, where Guardiola wants to strengthen.

Nicolas Otamendi is reported to be attracting interest from Real Madrid and it would be hard to imagine City resisting any advances for the Argentine. He has looked less rash as the season has gone on and has often been picked when there is an aerial battle to win, but the chance to cash in would be extremely tempting. Guardiola has said he is looking for defenders who can both defend and play out from the back, and the Argentine is deemed less capable in possession than Stones and Kolarov.

Fabian Delph has now played City’s last two matches and has impressed, especially given he had hardly played at all before April. He could yet provide a good squad option next season - and he is of course homegrown - but City may also be tempted by offers from the many clubs, including Newcastle and West Brom, who are interested.

Kelechi Iheanacho could yet leave the club this summer, either on loan or permanently. As soon as Gabriel Jesus was eligible to play the Nigerian could not get in the matchday squad, and he has rarely featured since the Brazilian got injured in February. If Guardiola demands significant improvement from Aguero then he will want much more from Iheanacho, who is a penalty box striker and does not offer the kind of movement required by the Catalan coach.

Having barely played in recent months and with City in the market for other strikers it seems unlikely that Iheanacho will play much next season, but the club will have to decide if they want to loan him out in the hope of improvement elsewhere, or sell him outright in the belief that he won’t be able to contribute while Guardiola is in charge.

Tosin Adarabioyo is out of contract at the end of the season and with no breakthrough over the last few months it appears the local centre-back will be moved on.

There are a number of City youngsters out on loan and it will be decision time for many of them. Enes Unal has impressed on loan at Twente while Patrick Roberts has done likewise at Celtic, though there was something about Guardiola’s post-match assessment of Roberts’ performance against City in December that suggested the young Englishman does not have much of a future at the Etihad.

Manu Garcia is happy on loan at NAC Breda and would extend his stay with the club if they are promoted to the Eredivisie. Marlos Moreno and Oleksandar Zinchenko signed for City last summer before being loaned out, and it is hard to see them featuring in the first-team picture next season. Another loan is perhaps the best Bersant Celina could hope for, too.


PACK YOUR BAGS - YOU'RE OFF!


Bosman 2017 Pablo Zabaleta

This should be a less complicated list to run through.

Pablo Zabaleta, Bacary Sagna, Gael Clichy, Yaya Toure and Jesus Navas are all out of contract.

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Zabaleta could join West Ham, having agreed with his partner to spend at least one season in London before moving to mainland Europe.

West Ham had also been interested in Sagna, who is sure to leave the Etihad, along with Clichy and Navas. The latter is most likely to rejoin Sevilla, though there remains a remote possibility that he could earn another season in Manchester by converting to a right-back.

Toure has been one of City’s best players since he returned from exile in November, but it appears unlikely that he will get a new contract. He has become something of a father figure for the group this season and has helped City control games, but has been overlooked for the faster-paced games in recent weeks. It could be time to say goodbye to a genuine club legend.

That will definitely be the case for Joe Hart, another City legend, who simply doesn’t have a future at the club on Guardiola’s watch.

It should be easy for City to find a permanent buyer for the England goalkeeper, but it may be trickier when it comes to Nasri, Bony and Mangala, who would need to take significant pay cuts to go elsewhere. If they are still at the Etihad by the end of the transfer window then no buyers will have come forward, because none have futures at City.

With the possibility of Zabaleta, Toure, Hart, Kompany and Aguero leaving permanently this summer, it could be a painful time for City fans.

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