Commenta per primo
It’s quite clear that Pep Guardiola hasn’t had the time of his life so far at Manchester City, although it’s still early days for the former Bayern Munich and Barcelona boss. The recent win over Arsenal did play a part in reviving some title hopes, but with half a season still to be played, predicting anything confidently in the Premier League is never a clever thing to do.
Currently third in the table, seven points adrift of table topping Chelsea, City have a job on their hands. It still is a work in progress and Guardiola isn’t finding it easy to thrive on his preferred style in the Premier League. There have been glimpses of football that has been pleasing on the eye, but City have been a shambles defensively and while Guardiola has been seen fiddling around with different formations and by fielding varying line-ups to counter the opposition, they seem to lack the certainty so often associated with Pep’s teams. Playing a high-line at the back has cost them dearly in a defensive sense.
Some of the summer signings have clicked, while others haven’t and reinforcements will be needed to add more perfection to the way that the Citizens are playing. The winter transfer window will allow them the opportunity to do so and here are some of the players that Pep Guardiola could look to bring in at the Etihad in January.
Darijo Srna:
The Croatian skipper, who has been one of the most consistent performers at Shakhtar Donetsk over the past few seasons, has drawn strong links with Barcelona too. The Catalans have seemingly come close to sealing the deal for the veteran right-back in an attempt to replace Aleix Vidal, but Mundo Deportivo has reported that Guardiola is planning a shock move for 34-year-old.
A determined individual, whose work-rate outweighs his age, Srna has made 18 appearances for Shakhtar this season, scoring once and assisting twice. Sound defensively and just as good contributing for the attack, the full back can add more steel to the City defence. His versatility allows him to play at centre-back too and his experience could prove vital for the development of John Stones.
His composure on the ball and the experience of having played in a league as hostile as the one in the Ukraine, proves that the Croatian skipper knows how to operate in a physical environment. And while the move seems unlikely, the mere presence of this man could add more organisation to a back line that needs someone with a calming influence.

Julian Weigl:
Although the young German star penned a new deal at Borussia Dortmund very recently, the likes of Luis Suarez and Gareth Bale also signed new deals at Liverpool and Spurs respectively, before joining Barcelona and Real Madrid. Weigl is one of those players who attracted interest from Pep Guardiola during his time at Bayern Munich and it seems as if the Spaniard is keen on bringing him to the Premier League.
Since his rise to prominence last season, Weigl has established himself as a regular first-team player at Dortmund and assumed the form of being a vital part of Thomas Tuchel’s system. The 21-year-old has been used in front of the back-four and has earned a reputation as being one of the best young players in the world in that position. While Guardiola hasn’t exactly used the traditional 4-1-4-1 or the 4-2-3-1 formation so far, Weigl’s passing abilities can help him play alongside former teammate Ilkay Gundogan or Fernandinho in a 3-4-3 or any formation that Guardiola prefers.
The youngster’s composure on the ball and his acclimatisation to sides that press high up the pitch will help Guardiola get a player that he rates very highly. Considering the fact that Guardiola currently lacks a player who operates between the lines, say someone like Andres Iniesta or Leo Messi, Weigl can certainly fill that role.

Virgil van Dijk:
As per reports from England, Manchester City have entered the race to sign the Southampton defender who probably is the most in-demand player in the Premier League right now. Having joined The Saints from Scottish giant’s Celtic back in 2015; the Dutchman has become the mainstay of the side that has succeeded in attaining regular top ten finishes over the past three seasons.
While John Stones has struggled for form and his performances have been riddled with inconsistencies, Guardiola has consistently switched from a back three to a back four and vice versa in recent games to build the team around him. Nicolas Otamendi hasn’t been at his very best and the use of the likes of Aleks, Kolarov and Bacary Sagna, suggests that City are in need of quality centre-half.
The Dutchman, who is also being tracked by the likes of PSG and Chelsea, is a complete defender. He can pass the ball, head and has the presence to dominate the opposition forwards at will. But, it’s his consistency at the back that has made him a sought after star in the Premier League and Southampton have always been a side that are willing to sell, albeit at the right price. 
Franck Kessie:
Despite being a Wilfried Bony lookalike, Franck Kessie is a completely different kind of a player. The 20-year-old Ivorian is one of the most coveted Serie A players right now and giants such as Arsenal, Tottenham and Juventus are said to be chasing the highly versatile youngster. Reports have also linked City to the former Cesena star.
A centre-back by trade, but also capable of playing as a central midfielder and as a right back, Kessie has scored six times in the Serie A this season and has become a vital cog in the wheel for Gian Piero Gasperini’s side. His contributions have played a key role in keeping La Dea in the upper echelons of the Serie A standings.
Kessie is a sound passer and someone who knows how to go past players; which testifies to the amount of goals he has scored this campaign. His versatility makes him a utility player who can adapt to any positions in times of crisis. Kessie could really prove to be a handy player for Pep Guardiola, who needs players like the Ivorian, to switch positions in his flexible playing system. 


By Kaustubh Pandey