The saga for a permanent left-back continues at the Etihad. City have options already, but still intend to sign another to complete Guardiola’s dream transfer window so far. Quite an amount of money has been spent on Pep’s squad rejig this summer, yet the left-back box remains unchecked.
The Sky Blues have been all over Marc Cucurella throughout the transfer window, labelling him as a priority for Guardiola. A deal for him has not been agreed with Brighton yet, as City think the asking fee for him is too high.
The Seagulls declined City’s £30m offer and are asking for almost three times of what they paid for Cucurella last summer (£43m). Although reports have stated that Man City are preparing a new bid for the player, there will be no surprises if they forfeit signing him for a cheaper option.
Benfica have offered Alex Grimaldo to the English champions as a possible alternative to Cucurella. They are willing to let the player go for between €5M and €7M, according to Portuguese sports newspaper, Record. Man City’s interest in the player is not concrete yet as the club are yet to make any contact with Benfica or with Grimaldo’s representatives.
City are not out of options for a starter at left-back, neither are they desperate enough to sign one for an outrageous or relatively cheap value. Guardiola has both Joao Cancelo and Josh Wilson-Esbrand to fill in that gap.
Cancelo was a regular starter at left-back for City over the past couple of seasons. Guardiola had to improvise due to Benjamin Mendy’s absence and Zinchenko’s inconsistency in both fitness and form. Cancelo has since lived up to the task, putting smiles on the faces of everyone at the Etihad. The concern however, is that he is City’s only natural option at right-back after Kyle Walker.
Josh Wilson-Esbrand is a more natural player at left-back. We can confirm that he will be closer in training to the first team this season and be a backup for Cancelo. The versatile Portuguese fullback may be totally relieved of his duties at Walker’s position if City don’t sign Cucurella or Grimaldo before the window closes.
Rico Lewis can pick up the baton from where Cancelo stopped at right-back. After putting of a brilliant performance against Bayern Munich in the pre-season friendly, he might just be ready to compete for senior tier football. This means that Guardiola already has a full squad even without signing a left-back.