Pep Guardiola has hinted at a squad overhaul at Manchester City this summer.
City clinched the Premier League title for the third time under the Spaniard, and could cap a memorable season with Champions League glory.
Thoughts will then turn to the following campaign, and talks will take place with players who may be unhappy with their roles.
What was said?
“There are players that accept one typical situation in the team and there are other ones that don’t accept it,” Guardiola is quoted as saying in the Daily Mail.
“When they don’t accept sometimes not playing, you can sustain that for one season - a short period - but not for a long period. It’s impossible.
“In that position, we have to change. We’ll see at the end of the season. We’ll talk with them and we’ll be clear, they’ll be clear, and we’ll decide the best for the players.”
City players in the spotlight
Raheem Sterling and Aymeric Laporte are the most high-profile players who have slipped down the pecking order this season.
Central defender Laporte was immense in his first two seasons at the club, which resulted in a pair of Premier League titles, but he suffered a serious knee injury at the start of the 2019-20 campaign and has struggled to recapture his best form.
The revival of John Stones and emergence of Ruben Dias has resulted in Laporte spending extended spells on the bench.
Sterling has had a similarly tough time in the current campaign. His form in the previous three seasons was supreme, as he took his game to new heights under Guardiola.
The England international’s goalscoring touch has deserted him in the second half of the season, however, and he is no longer a guaranteed starter.
Guardiola said after Ferran Torres’ hat-trick in the 4-3 win over Newcastle on Friday that the forward could be converted into a number nine.
With Sergio Aguero departing at the end of the season, it would be a gamble for Guardiola to go into the new campaign without a proven striker.
Guardiola has shown in the past that he is not afraid to tinker with his formations and positions, but if the likes of Tottenham’s Harry Kane and Borussia Dortmund’s Erling Haaland are available, it may be difficult to resist making a bid.
Should Kane or Haaland arrive, it would leave Guardiola free to deploy his players in their favorite positions - which could make City an even bigger threat. Conversely, the coach may enjoy the challenge of winning with square pegs in round holes.
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