Seven familiar Manchester City faces will be facing the ax come summer 2017. While there is still well over half of the season to be played, let’s take a look at those players.
The 35-year-old Argentine moved from Málaga in 2014. Since then, he has played the supplemental goalkeeper role to near perfection. With the ongoing rise of City, Caballero won’t be in any rush to leave. He sees the pitch more than most backup shot-stoppers and has a great chance at securing more hardware. I think Pep Guardiola sees eye-to-eye with Willy and will push to re-sign him.
Zaba has been with City since 2008 and has seen managers come and go, yet he remains. After his tantalizing performance in the midfield against Celtic in the final group stage match of Champions League, Pep will have some thinking to do. While Guardiola certainly doesn’t mind shipping club legends away (see: Joe Hart), I think he keeps Zaba for at least one more year. A team leader who is flexible as far as playing location, Zabaleta will help usher in the new era of City players.
The French right-back joined City in 2014 and has notched 43 appearances in that time. Unfortunately, he has never quite wowed in his performances. With a defensive overhaul looming, Sagan can’t rely on the same sentiment Zabaleta can.
Clichy’s performances have sharply declined this season and City’s full-backs have recently been exposed by opposing tacticians. While Clichy and Kolarov have battled to keep City’s left-back position respectable over the past few seasons, the time appears to be up. With the midfield and front-line settling in as far as personnel, City need to address the left-back position sooner rather than later.
I won’t hide it: the Serbian is one of my all-time favorite City players. I love his style of play and with a left foot that’s probably been banned by the UN as a weapon of mass destruction, he’s provided some memorable goals and assists. With that being said, unless he can stake his claim as a legitimate backup at center-half to John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi (...and Vincent Kompany?), he will be on his way out from the Blue side of Manchester.
Fact: Yaya Touré will go down as one of the most influential City players of all time. Fact: Yaya Touré is past his prime.
The former Barcelona man has single-handedly won City matches (see: Newcastle away in the title-winning campaign of 2012), but he’s a shell of his former self. Perhaps the greatest subject of disagreement amongst City fans across the globe over the past year, the Ivorian is now 33 years old. Regardless of what he has done for the club in the past, Pep brings a new style of play to Manchester. With a pressing system that requires world-class cardio and non-stop hustle, Yaya’s body simply can’t deliver. He will continue to play well in spot-starts for the remainder of the year, but be ready for a changing of the guard in the midfield.
The Brazilian is a workhorse, plain and simple. With both William Carvalho and Julian Weigl linked recently, it is rumoured the central midfielder may be under some pressure. But if you’ve watched City regularly this year, you know that Fernandinho’s presence cannot be replicated. Bringing a defensivee element to the game that Yaya never managed to bring, the 31-year-old may be in the form of his life. Pep trusts him enough to slide him into a center-half position mid-match when necessary and he dictates the pace of play from wherever he is positioned. Consider me shocked if Fernandinho is not wearing Sky Blue next year.
The Spanish winger has enough pace to make defenders knees tremble. Unfortunately, despite having the past three seasons to do so, the 31-year-old has never been able to find the final ball into the box. The world-class pace is useless if nothing comes to fruition, and I think he’s been given all the chances he will be afforded at the Etihad. Pep can do better than Navas in the system he implements.