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Foden and 'Wirtz' case scenario for life after De Bruyne.

With the collapse of Lucas Paqueta’s proposed £80m switch from West Ham to Manchester City looking a surefire bet, Pep Guardiola and Txiki Begiristain are focusing on an alternative creative midfielder signing before September 1st.


Foden and Alvarez combined to scan Newcastle's Barcodes.

Two names have emerged from the proverbial transfer rumour mill – Florian Wirtz the 20-year-old German wonderkid from Bayer Leverkusen, and the similarly Bundesliga-based Dani Olmo (25), the more experienced Spanish international attacker at RB Leipzig.


Could German 'whizz kid' Florian Wirtz be City's most expensive signing this summer?

Working under the guidance of one of the world’s finest ever midfielders – Leverkusen’s Head Coach, Xabi Alonso – it could be argued Wirtz is already in the right place to develop his game at such an early stage of his career.


Dani Olmo is someone else who knows all about glorious Trebles!

Alternatively, Olmo – whose youth career began with Espanyol, switching to Barcelona’s famous academy ‘La Masia’ before taking the somewhat unorthodox move to Dinamo Zagreb – is by far, the more finished product at this stage.


The attacking midfielder began the season with a hat-trick, as RB Leipzig battered Bayern Munich 3-0 in the Allianz Arena to lift the German Super Cup. His eye-catching treble overshadowed the debut of an English player – Harry something or other – who was turning out for the opposing perennial Bundesliga champions.


German Super Cup winner, Olmo is on City's radar.

Wirtz, although unproven, would command the largest fee, such is his vast potential. On the other hand Olmo – who has a £51m buyout clause in 2024 – could be acquired for circa £70m this summer, if RBL wanted to play ball.


Closer to home, Phil Foden produced a masterly display in the traditional KDB playmaker role as City did what City do when they play Newcastle United at the Etihad – scanning the Barcodes and taking maximum points.


Alvarez and MOTM Foden combined for City's winner against The Toon.

Foden's brilliance has prompted the question, why do City need to spend big money on another attacking midfielder?


There’s a simple answer.


If Guardiola aspires to hang onto City’s hard-earned Treble – which of course he does – and even expand upon it, courtesy of the League Cup and FIFA World Club Championship, he needs quantity as well as quality.


The Super Cup in the bag, Pep has set his sights on five other trophies for City in 2023/24.

Renowned for his preference to work with a comparatively close knit and small number of players, Pep has surely realised he could be thin on numbers with injuries and departures, in one of the most demanding seasons of his managerial career.


Against Sevilla in the UEFA Super Cup success and the 1-0 win over The Toon, there was no Kevin De Bruyne, Bernardo Silva or John Stones.

City - Super Cup Winners 2023 - with no KDB, Bernardo or Stones.

Ilkay Gundogan and Riyad Mahrez have already gone, Aymeric Laporte is on his way to Saudi Arabia (absolutely scandalous that none of Europe’s elite clubs came in for him), and Joao Cancelo should be going to Barcelona on loan, hopefully with an obligation to buy.


High Five - City fans are saddened to see Aymeric Laporte depart after five-and-a-half years at the Etihad.

Mateo Kovacic and Josko Gvardiol have both hit the ground running and, in the next few hours, Jeremy Doku should be ready to ‘go down the wing’ in a City shirt. All three look like great business, but still the squad requires more depth.


Kovacic has been a top performer in his short time at City.

As things stand De Bruyne (32) is virtually irreplaceable, he’s THE best in the world at what he does. But he can’t go on forever, especially with a longstanding hamstring injury – the sort of niggling impairment – not easily shaken off.


The brilliant Belgian is contracted to City until 2025 – and hopefully beyond – but succession planning is vital.


KDB is a huge loss for City, but he could be like a new signing in 2024.

Gundogan and Mahrez will both turn 33 this season. Fair to say, City would have been delighted to keep both at the Etihad, but the players chose to leave. Their departures, along with Laporte (29) and Cancelo (29) will hasten the transition to a younger squad.


Cancelo is Barcelona bound, hopefully with an obligation to buy.

If City have the desire and powers of persuasion to lure Wirtz to England it makes perfect sense, irrespective of Foden’s success as cover in KDB’s absence.


It’s nonsense to suggest it would have to be a case of either/or Foden or Wirtz.


Foden could end up as City's most 'decorated' player of all time.

There’s an abundance of time for the Stockport Iniesta and the potential generational talent from Germany, to play alongside each other for years to come, when King Kevin finally calls it a day.


With today’s news that Pep is going to be sidelined for a few weeks after undergoing back surgery in Barcelona, it’ll be left to Txiki to do the heavy lifting on the transfer front, while Juanma Lillo directs affairs from the touchline.


Doku should soon be flying down the wing in City Blue.

Hopefully there’ll be at least one more high profile signing along with Doku, when Pep gets to say ‘Ola’ to his new intake – whoever they might be – after next month’s international break.


By David Walker



Twitter @ReadButNeverRed @djwskyblu






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12 Comments


tracie465
tracie465
Aug 23, 2023

Another great read ....thank you 💙

Kev will always be our King but 100% need to start thinking about an understudy!

Thanks for this .... we all love your writing 💙

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davidjwalker1
davidjwalker1
Aug 23, 2023
Replying to

Thanks for your favourable feedback - always appreciated. It's not a pleasing prospect to think of City without KDB in the long term - it's bad enough for the next few months - and I've no doubt City are looking at eventual succession planning. Hindsight is a wonderful thing - if only KDB had had the surgery in June!

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Insightful! Could be one of our best windows yet David.

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davidjwalker1
davidjwalker1
Aug 23, 2023
Replying to

We're running out of time for it to be a truly stellar window but hope springs eternal. Kovacic, Gvardiol and hopefully Doku, look like class signings, but the loss of KDB has complicated matters. Thanks for your comment.

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I always enjoy your articles. I totally agree with you about Aymeric Laporte. I simply can't understand why a top club hasn't come in for him. I think also has demeanour since there's been talk of him leaving has been first class. At least he's a top defender unlike.........


As for Cancelo the rumour is we're apparently going to do more favours to Farcelona. Let them pay most of his wages. Most? And give them the option to buy him at the end of the loan period for £30 million! Have they finished paying what they owe for Torres yet?


Ok it's only internet rumours but it wouldn't suprise me.


PS I'd love to know who the impeccable source was…


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davidjwalker1
davidjwalker1
Aug 23, 2023
Replying to

I think we're all saddened by Laporte's departure - he's never let us down and is probably paying the physical consequences of putting his body on the line during the run-in to the 2021/22 title. He played injured and that may have set him back when competing for a starting place.


Unfortunately Cancelo will not be held in such high esteem. Whereas Eric was the consummate professional, the same cannot be said of Cancelo.


Both players should be worth far more than their fees upon departure would suggest, but it's a bit of a quirk of some of City's transfer deals this summer.


I share your loathing of the Catalan crooks - they're living in the past. They used to…


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Yet another great post Dave👍. Much as I love King Kev to bits I do agree we need to start looking for a replacement sometime. Now is a good as time get someone in to learn from the great man himself. I would take either of the two mentioned but a slight leaning towards Olmo.

It's me the invisible 🫥 man again 😎

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davidjwalker1
davidjwalker1
Aug 23, 2023
Replying to

They way the market is going at the moment it doesn't look like Wirtz or Olmo will be joining City in this window. It could be argued that Phil Foden IS Kevin's successor in waiting, but we still need to promote from the CFA, or purchase. young dynamic creative players for years to come. Thanks again.

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Boom Boom - better pun than the Edinburgh Fringe winning "joke"

And Quality analysis all in 3 minutes.

Cheers

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davidjwalker1
davidjwalker1
Aug 23, 2023
Replying to

Loving the Basil Brush impersonation! That's three minutes of your life you'll never get back :)

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