Pep Guardiola happy to wait until the summer to replace fernandinho

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Guardiola

Pep Guardiola has shelved plans to sign a midfielder after refusing to be rushed into finding a long-term successor to Fernandinho.

Manchester City have made a holding midfielder their transfer priority, having missed out on Fred and Jorginho in the last two windows.

But Guardiola – who has placed Frenkie de Jong, Tanguy Ndombele and Ruben Neves, on his list of potential targets – has decided to wait until the summer to finally address the situation.

He is already likely to have rethink his plans, with De Jong expected to leave Ajax for Barcelona at the end of the season.

But with Lyon prepared to sell Ndombele when the summer window opens, Guardiola is likely to have more joy if he firms up a move for the highly-rated Frenchman.

Explaining why he will not strengthen his quadruple-chasing squad this month, the City manager said: “Sometimes we have done it, but normally when you want to buy a player it’s for six years and that doesn’t normally happen in this window.

“The big clubs don’t buy for six months if you have no injuries and you are satisfied with the players. We decided we are going well since the start of the season.

“It’s a good opportunity when the season is not going well to do something.”

City’s over-reliance on 33-year-old Fernandinho was exposed last month when they suffered back-to-back defeats to Crystal Palace and Leicester in his absence.

The Brazilian is fit again, but with no natural replacement for him in City’s squad, Guardiola hopes of an unprecedented clean sweep rest heavily on his ability to stay injury-free for the rest of the season.

De Jong is considered one of the hottest prospects in world football and attracted interest from Barca and Paris St Germain, as well as City.

The Dutchman has confirmed he will not leave before the summer, but reports in Spain claim he is set to move to the Nou Camp, meaning Guardiola will have to review his list of targets.

For now he is putting his faith in Fernandinho, who will return to the starting XI against Wolves on Monday after being rested for the games against Rotherham and Burton.

Sergio Aguero should also be available after overcoming flu to take part in training on Thursday, while Vincent Kompany is expected to recover from a knock.

Wolves have taken points off City, Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham and beat Liverpool in the FA Cup this week, leaving Guardiola in no doubt about their threat at the Etihad.

“We realised when we played them in the EFL Cup last season (City won on penalties after a goalless draw) and the first away game this season how complicated it would be against them,” he said. “They are strong physically, on the counter attack and set pieces.

“There is not just one or two there’s three or four threats – and when you are tired, they can put on new players.

“They defend well, deep, they control many areas, (Joao) Moutinho, Neves – he can shoot from a long way. They are newly promoted and doing incredibly well.

Source: independent.ng