The new season is fast approaching and it seems only a matter of time before Manchester City delve fully into the transfer market.
After winning the league title back from rivals Liverpool, Pep Guardiola made no secret of his desire to advance his senior ranks.
The Spaniard is desperate for a top-level striker to replace the departed Sergio Aguero, while creativity is also needed in midfield to keep City moving nicely and fluidly around talisman Kevin De Bruyne.
City are waiting for the perfect moment, as major transfer market spending will have an immediate knock-on effect across the Premier League and beyond, with transfer fees fluctuating as more clubs are given more money to spend.
With this in mind, Sports post takes a look at how the defending champions could line up next season as they compete on four fronts again.
Pep Guardiola gets his team in shape for another title-defending campaign
Potentially Manchester City 2021/22 Season XI – (4-3-3)
The ever-reliable Brazilian seems to be getting better for City every season and seems to have finally displaced rival Alisson Becker from the national team.
Ederson going into the season has gone all the way to the Copa America final with Brazil and is eager to win again.
Ederson, a fiery character who leads from behind, is crucial to the way City plays. His long passes and accurate distribution can also be hugely beneficial for the incoming signings.
Ederson returns from the back of a solid Copa America in which he helped Brazil to the final
Deserves a place in UEFA’s Euro 2020 squad of the tournament.
Walker was brilliantly consistent for England throughout the European Championships and used all his experience to the fullest.
Once rested and returned to the pre-season setup, Walker will no doubt be given an extended period of re-climatization before being pushed straight back into Guardiola’s plans.
After a superb debut campaign that could not have gone better, Dias becomes the key man in the back for City.
The former Benfica man got off to a flying start and with Virgil van Dijk finally returning to Liverpool, all eyes will be on the duo to determine who is the best central half in the top division.
For years, the backline has been a concern for Guardiola, but Dias’ standing means no further investment is needed in the central areas.
Ruben Dias was a revelation last season and established himself among the best in the competition
Last season’s unlikely hero, the Stones comeback, has shocked many football fans.
Just 12 months ago, Stones was strongly linked with a summer move to Crystal Palace to get playing time, but the 27-year-old had other ideas.
Stones seized his chance on the team when injuries struck, Stones quickly settled into the starting lineup and never looked back.
Next season, he will likely be seen again alongside Dias as the two build on their thriving partnership. Aymeric Laporte, of the subs bench, will no doubt be eager to get his chance.
A tactical switch last season, with Cancelo shoved over the fullbacks, seemed to strike the right chord.
Guardiola finally got the tactical versatility from the Portuguese star and finally the big money Juventus paid for his services seemed justified.
A tactical switch made Joao Cancelo really come into his own at City last season
After missing out on the European Championships through injury, Cancelo will be desperate to get back into action at City and continue to improve his game in the Premier League.
In terms of approach, expect Guardiola’s defense to be as attacking as last season.
Fernandinho, the City’s senior statesman, was sorely missed in the Champions League final in May.
By the time he was brought in at the Estadio Do Dragao, it was too late.
Guardiola will no doubt have learned his lesson, and a defensive base in Fernandinho’s midfield alongside Rodri could become more frequent next season.
The Brazilian offers not only experience and leadership on the side, but also tenacity and a wide range of passing options.
Spanish star Rodri could be the metronome on his day for City, although Guardiola will demand more consistency from him next season.
Should City acquire the necessary firepower beforehand, Rodri’s break-up play in the middle of the pitch will be crucial to getting the ball through midfield and into the opponent’s final third.
And here we come to the first big signing of the summer.
Guardiola has seen Grealish as one of his main summer transfer targets and seems to have a very specific vision in mind for the England international.
Grealish knows the Premier League like the back of his hand and regularly shines at Aston Villa with hugely inferior players around him.
At City, it would be a very different ball game, allowing Grealish to take his game to an even more terrifying level.
Jack Grealish has been on Pep Guardiola’s radar for a while and big money transfer is being praised
However, as recently reported, Grealish would be in doubt about the proposed £100m move given how quickly he is growing up to be a top European talent with Villa.
At City, however, he would soon be introduced to Champions League football and would undoubtedly bring another dimension to Guardiola’s squad.
As has been seen many times, they almost always get him when City really wants their man.
Kevin De Bruyne
Perhaps still sore from his brutal exit in the Champions League final, the Belgian will go into the campaign feeling he has a point to prove.
De Bruyne, once again City’s standout player last season, will form the central axis of midfield and link up the attacking ranks.
The potential arrival of Grealish will be fascinating to see how the English star responds, develops and understands alongside De Bruyne.
Obviously, both men’s two playstyles would kindly complement each other, which could be a delightful prospect for City fans.
After his breakthrough season, Foden is expected to reach even higher levels.
Guardiola has nurtured the swift-footed star for years and now Foden really knows his place on this side, having stepped in to fill the big shoes of club legend David Silva.
It can be expected that Foden De Bruyne will continue to flank the striker in a trio, especially if Grealish is recruited from Villa.
However, it is the key striker at the top whom Foden would be most able to connect with, should City be able to produce the best business from the window.
England’s most prolific finisher could be up for grabs and City have made absolutely no secret of their admiration.
Kane ended last season giving all the signs of a player looking to leave Tottenham, go elsewhere and really start competing for trophies on a regular basis.
Spurs dig their heels hard, but City won’t back down without a fight.
Harry Kane would lead City’s attack if they manage to take him from Tottenham
If taken over, Guardiola would put Kane at the forefront and likely put him on the team’s roster as the sole striker, with a highly competent supporting cast.
Kane would get the telepathic service from De Bruyne, which is not even thought of for title rivals.
Grealish and Foden are also said to be on good terms with their compatriot, having worked closely with him over the summer during England’s march to the Euro 2020 final.
His arrival would mean bad news for people like Gabriel Jesus, but Guardiola would certainly not lose any sleep over this. He came so close to the Champions League with City and the addition of Kane would immediately put him back on the doorstep.
How City could be lining up next season if deals for Grealish and Kane come through soon?
Zach Steffen – Young keeper still earns his stripes and will probably get opportunities again in the cup competitions.
nuno mendes – Another potential new boy. Guardiola has shown in the past that he is very willing to spend a lot of money on defenders, but this deal could come late in the window if it happens, as Sporting Lisbon hold out for too high a fee.
Man City are interested in signing Sporting Lisbon’s ‘star of the future’ Nuno Mendes
Aymeric Laporte – Despite being one of City’s most notable performers in recent years, the French-born Spanish international faces another season in which he tries to oust Dias of Stones.
Ilkay Gundogan – The German is on the cusp of becoming a new fixture in Guardiola’s ranks, but could fall to the bench when the manager needs a defensive base in midfield for the backline. If the deep-set Rodri and Fernandinho don’t play, there could be a bloodbath… as City discovered in the Champions League final.
Bernardo Silva – Still battling to become a first name on the team sheet, Silva has Guardiola’s approval to somehow oust Foden.
Raheem Sterling – Although he fell out of favor at the end of last season, his blistering Euro 2020 with England should be enough to save his City career.
Raheem Sterling fell out of favor last season but shone with England at Euro 2020
Benjamin Mendy – The talent is very evident at Mendy, but the constant injuries and distractions off the field have weighed heavily. Probably start from the couch.
Ferran Torres – The young Spaniard impressed last season and City hope he can bring more consistency.