Pep Guardiola is thinking hard about finding a replacement for Brazilian defensive midfielder, Fernando Luiz Roza, more commonly known as Fernandinho. For City, the 33-year old is an essential player, but although he is on top form right now, it has to be wondered how long it will be before his age begins to tell. It can’t be far away.
It was only last summer when Guardiola was said to have been lining up a deal for the Naples player Jorginho to come to the Etihad as an intended future replacement for the aging Fernandinho; one Brazilian for another. Unfortunately, at the last minute, the then Naples’ man diverted to Chelsea. So, where does the City boss turn next to find a suitable successor?
On the European club scene, Pep Guardiola believes that City, despite their deep pockets, will find it hard to compete with the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona on the transfer market. For example Man City are rumoured to be interested in the 21-year-old Dutchman, Frenkie De Jong.
The problem is, however, that as well as Real and Barcelona showing interest in the Ajax midfielder, so too are Paris Saint-Germain. The City manager doesn’t wish to say more at the moment about his chances of signing the player, who it is estimated would cost around £70-million. He is only too well aware that the Spanish giants would prove tough opponents.
As Guardiola said in a recent press interview, it’s all very well when you are the only club that is chasing a player, but the more clubs in the hunt, the murkier the likely outcome is going to be; especially when those clubs are Real or Barca.
According to reports, Pep Guardiola has decided the Manchester City will not be finalising any new signings during the January transfer window, but he is of course only too well aware that he must obtain a new holding midfield player to replace the aging Fernandinho, and this needs to do done before the start of next season.
It’s no secret that the Sky Blues have not coped well when Fernandinho has not been available. The fact of the matter is that they lost both of the Premiership fixtures they were forced to play without him. As the Brazilian will be 34 when the new season starts, the clock for finding a replacement is ticking down at a rate of knots.
But the answer of replacing Fernandinho could be found closer to home. The player in question is Wolverhampton Wanderers, Portuguese holding midfielder, Reuben Neves. The problem, however, is the price and the wage.
Although City are not short of funds, when it comes to competing with the other top teams in Europe, Pep Guardiola says that the Citizens rate only eighth or ninth financially, and he maintains that they are just not prepared or able to pay out £100-million, which is what Neves would cost according to speculation.
Another player who could well be worth considering is Declan Rice of West Ham. As Tony Cottee, the former West Ham legend said when asked about Rice’s future with the Hammers, he only has one year left on his contract, and he is on a low wage. Cottee thinks that a top club like Man City would be willing to pay the £50,000 per week which would be believes secure his services.
One thing is for sure and that is that Fernandinho will not be an easy act to replace when the time comes. Despite Guardiola’s assertions about the amount City are willing to pay, if the player choice is right, and the replacement, whoever he is, is a seamless substitute; they will surely pay whatever they need to. The all-important thing is getting the right man.