Three Decisions Guardiola Need To Make In January Transfer Window

Manchester City don't look like making a signing in January but that doesn't mean Pep Guardiola doesn't have decisions to make.

Pep Guardiola has remained adamant throughout the January transfer window that Man City won't be bringing any players in, despite his side's fall from grace.

City have already dropped five more points than they did in the entirety of last season and have all-but surrendered their Premier League crown to Liverpool, who sit 16 points clear with a game in hand. However, Guardiola insists he won't add to his squad.

“I took that decision, we couldn't invest in summer, why do you have to invest in December?” Guardiola said ahead of the transfer window.

“I like my squad, we have problems with injuries, but if we have the chance to like it happened with Laporte, there was a clause and we knew that the potential of this player because he had played for many years in big stages against incredible strikers and we were convinced he could handle it immediately, and for a long time we could do it but that is not the position, that I think the market does not give us that opportunity and I don’t want to do that.”

Now, with a week to go until the window closes, there are still some key transfer decisions that Guardiola has to make that could have huge ramifications for the rest of the campaign.

1 – Stick or twist with a centre-back

Aymeric Laporte of Manchester City (Image: Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

It's not the attacking side of City's game that has cost them this season as Kevin De Bruyne may have even made them better going forward, but the defence which has let them down.

The Blues have already conceded four more goals than they did last year with injuries to Aymeric Laporte, John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi destabilising the back-line and forcing Guardiola to play midfielders and teenagers there instead.

While Laporte made a successful return from injury in the victory over Sheffield United, City remain short on quantity and quality at the back and have done since the departure of Vincent Kompany.

Stones remains prone to injury and errors, and an ageing Otamendi has never been able to shake the urge to needlessly dive into tackles. The defence needs strengthening at some point and Guardiola must decide whether to do so in January or in the summer.

While the league may be lost, City are still very much alive in the Champions League and have a chance of winning – but their clumsy and porous back-line may cost them in Europe as well.

Laporte himself arrived at the Etihad during a January transfer window and had an immediate impact on the team. The same happening again wouldn't go amiss.

2 – Allow a youngster to leave

Laporte's timely return has given Guardiola a dilemma on what to do with youngster Taylor Harwood-Bellis.

The 17-year-old has impressed at the back when given opportunities in the domestic cups this season but has now slipped further down the pecking order and, unless injuries strike again, game time appears unlikely.

Guardiola admitted that Harwood-Bellis could leave the club on loan if a Premier League club was interested.

He said: “We didn't speak about Harwood-Bellis but I think he is going to stay until the end of the season because maybe we need him for the second team. I don't know if he has offers – if there is an offer from a Premier League team maybe we would consider that for his development as a player but I don't have information about that.”

City sending their youngsters out for experiences has been a hot topic in recent years, especially concerning Phil Foden, and Guardiola will have the same quandary again if someone comes in for the young defender.

Does Guardiola let him go to gain invaluable experience playing top-level football against senior pros and risk being short on numbers if injuries occur, or keep him to train with City's stars but not play proper football?

3 – A decision on Leroy Sane

The future of Leroy Sane has been a transfer saga that has rumbled on since last summer.

Bayern Munich made no secret of their desire to bring him back home to Germany, to the point that then-manager Nico Kovac was forced to apologise after saying he was confident a deal would be done.

Then the winger suffered a serious knee injury before the season started, ruling him out for months, but Bayern's long-term interest never fully went away.

The Bavarians are still keen on Sane and with him nearing a return to action, Guardiola needs to make a decision on his future.

The 23-year-old's contract will expire at the end of next season and a new deal doesn't appear to be any closer to being signed.

So Guardiola can either welcome Sane back to the squad with open arms and play him, hoping that he decides to stay in the meantime, or use him sparingly if at all and plan for a future without the German.

The Blues have already got used to being without him, but it might be hard to resist the temptation to bring him back into the side.

(Manchester Evening News)

This article was most recently revised and updated 3 years ago

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