Pep Guardiola is set to make a grand overhaul of his Manchester City squad this summer, with the future of 18 players hanging in the balance.
This comes after City’ shock exit from the Champions League after Monaco handed the Manchester team a 3-1 defeat in France (6-6 on aggregate, Monaco advances through away goal advantage).
It is expected that Guardiola will have a minimum budget of £150m, before any wage budget, to spend on players but extensive focus will go on who to sell or release too.
Seven of City’s first-team squad members will be out of contract in July: Yaya Toure, Gael Clichy, Pablo Zabaleta, Willy Caballero, Jesus Navas, Bacary Sagna and the young central defender Tosin Adarabioyo.
There are also five on loan: Joe Hart, Eliaquim Mangala, Samir Nasri, Wilfried Bony and Jason Denayer.
Others with questionable futures include striker Sergio Aguero, who was dropped for Gabriel Jesus until the Brazilian broke a metatarsal; team captain Vincent Kompany, who is in the midst of another injury-blighted campaign; Aleksandar Kolarov, whose deal ends in summer 2019, plus out-of-favour Fabian Delph, Fernando and Kelechi Iheanacho.
Although Guardiola will not be expected to sell them immediately, there will be considerable trimming as the Spaniard shifts his focus to strengthening their defense.
City will be visiting Liverpool on Sunday, who are in fourth place in the Premier League, a point behind City having played a game more.
This comes at the start of a run of consecutive league games for City against the likes of Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea — a run which potentially decides whether they could return to the Champions League next season.
Liverpool 1 – 1 Manchester City