Manchester City have clearly been briefing journalists about their transfer plans as a whole raft of claims appeared simultaneously on Thursday afternoon.
Most interesting is the claim in the Daily Telegraph that City are still interested in Alexis Sanchez but are ‘thought to be particular concerns about how Argentina striker Sergio Aguero would react if Sanchez arrived in mid-season’.
Having scored a ridiculous number of goals already this season, City are keen not to upset ‘dressing room harmony’. They will only move for the Chilean in January if they are forced into the move, presumably by increased interest from PSG.
City had a bid worth up to £60million for Sanchez accepted on deadline day in August but a deal could not be finalised as Arsenal were unable to secure a replacement.
Any disappointment felt over that, however, has hardly shown up as a shortcoming in City’s squad. City are unbeaten and lead the Premier League by 11 points after winning their last 16 games. They are also through to the last 16 of the Champions League and the Carabao Cup semi-finals.
City’s feelings on the Sanchez situation are connected to a general reluctance to do business during the January transfer window unless there is a clear necessity to strengthen a certain position.
One such exception could be at centre-back, where City have appeared short of options of late with John Stones and Vincent Kompany both suffering injuries.
City could revive attempts to sign Jonny Evans from West Brom but it is understood other options will be explored, possibly including Southampton’s Virgil van Dijk. City will work to a plan of at least 18 months with all signings and not bring in players to fill gaps short-term.
If another defender is not recruited, a centre-back will be a priority in the summer along with extra defensive central midfield cover.
Contract talks with Fernandinho, who is in the final year of his current deal, are likely but Yaya Toure could leave when he becomes a free agent in the summer.
City are no longer thought to be interested in signing another left-back. Manager Pep Guardiola looked light in the position after Benjamin Mendy suffered a long-term knee injury in September but Fabian Delph has proved an adequate replacement. There is also further back-up in Danilo and Oleksandr Zinchenko.