Walker & Rose on Man City's radar as Guardiola chases homegrown targets
The Blues made enquiries for the two England and Spurs full-backs last summer and are aware they would have to pay top dollar to land even one of them
Pep Guardiola will come up against two of his top summer transfer targets when Manchester City take on Tottenham on Saturday.
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Spurs duo Kyle Walker and Danny Rose head up a list of potential new full-backs as Guardiola looks to overhaul an ageing area of his squad.
City have been eyeing up reinforcements since the summer and, as part of a two-stage plan to overhaul Guardiola’s squad, Goal understands enquiries were made regarding both Walker and Rose ahead of the current campaign – though Spurs gave them short shrift.
Goal understands Valencia’s Jose Luis Gaya represents another option for left-back. Arsenal are also interested in the 21-year-old, but Gunners officials believe City have stolen a march in the pursuit.
According to Valencia-based newspaper Super Deporte, City sporting director Txiki Begiristain met with Los Che counterpart Jose Ramon Alexanko earlier this week.
Guardiola, according to biographer Marti Perarnau, who has been granted unprecedented access to the City boss and his team of coaches over the last three-and-a-half years, told the club’s board that new full-backs were a priority in an Abu Dhabi meeting last June.
Yet none were signed, with Guardiola since claiming his transfer budget did not stretch to new arrivals in that position, meaning City’s four senior options for the first year of the Catalan’s reign would all be over the age of 30.
City decided that three of them – Pablo Zabaleta, Bacary Sagna and Gael Clichy – would most likely not be offered extenstions to their expiring contracts over the course of the campaign, and all of them now look certain to leave in the summer.
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A number of potential replacements have been identified – news of Hector Bellerin’s new Arsenal contract came as a blow – and Rose and Walker are regarded as first-choice options.
It was recently claimed that City would look to pay £60m for both at the end of the current season, but it is believed Spurs chairman Daniel Levy would hold out for close to double that amount.
Walker and Rose, both 26, signed five-year contracts earlier this season.
Spurs will also know of City’s need to bring in homegrown players to help satisfy UEFA quotas.
European football’s governing body stipulates that teams must include eight locally trained players in their squads for European competition, though at least four of those must be trained at the club’s own academy.
England internationals Joe Hart and Fabian Delph, as well as Clichy, who qualifies as an ‘association trained’ player thanks to his time at Arsenal as a teenager, could leave City in the summer.
In that scenario, and barring youth teamers, Raheem Sterling and John Stones would be City’s only remaining homegrown players.
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As a result, City will pursue homegrown options in several positions, meaning their transfer plans could prove to be a delicate balancing act.
For example, securing English or at least association trained players in one area would allow City to strengthen other areas without considering eligibility.
City have long been linked with Arsenal and England duo Alex Oxlade Chamberlain and Jack Wilshere, on loan at Bournemouth, and their names could feature prominently in transfer discussions in the coming months.
Kasper Schmeichel, who spent his formative years in City’s academy and would qualify as a club trained player, is also said to be a possible option, according to reports.
Willy Caballero is also out of contract in the summer, meaning City will pursue a new goalkeeper as well as several full-backs.