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Manchester City Squad 2023/24: Player Breakdown

Manchester City spent big again in the summer as they saw some of their Treble-winning squad leave for fresh challenges. Some of Manchester City’s top players left for Saudi Arabia and Barcelona as Pep Guardiola oversaw an overhaul following the Treble victory.  The manager brought in some new top talents, with anticipation building on just how those moves will affect Manchester City tactics for the season ahead.

Manchester City transfers in 2023/24

  • Josko Gvardiol (RB Leipzig), Matheus Nunes (Wolves), Jeremy Doku (Stade Rennais), Mateo Kovacic (Chelsea), 

Manchester City transfers out 2023/24

  • Cole Palmer (Chelsea), Riyad Mahrez (Al-Ahli), Aymeric Laporte (Al-Nassr), Yangel Herrera (Girona), Ilkay Gundogan (Barcelona)Nahuel Bustos (CA Talleres), Benjamin Mendy (Lorient), Joao Cancelo (Barcelona, Loan) Taylor Harwood-Bellis (Southampton, Loan), James McAtee (Sheffield United, Loan), Maxime Perrone (Las Palmas, Loan), Issa Kabore (Luton, Loan), Tommy Doyle (Wolves, Loan), Josh Wilson-Esbran (Stade Reims, Loan), Slobodan Tedic (Charlton, Loan)

Manchester City squad 2023/24

  • Goalkeepers: Ederson, Scott Carson, Stefan Ortega
  • Defenders: Manuel Akanji, Nathan Ake, Ruben Dias, Sergio Gomez, Josko Gvardiol, Rico Lewis, John Stones, Kyle Walker, 
  • Midfielders: Oscar Bobb, Kevin De Bruyne, Jeremy Doku, Phil Foden, Jack Grealish, Mateo Kovacic,  Matheus Nunes, Kalvin Phillips, Rodrigo, Bernado Silva
  • Forwards: Erling Haaland, Julian Alvarez

Key  and Star Players

  • Kevin De Bruyne is currently out injured and the drop-off in some of Manchester City players’ performances has been palpable. The 32-year-old Belgian may not be at his peak physical powers but he remained a provider of clear chances for Erling Haaland and others around him, and was a threat from long-distance with a live ball, and from set pieces.
  • Erling Haaland remains the difference, the man who turned City from a brilliant team to a ruthless one. He has such a refined game for a player so young, a man who does not waste energy on or off the pitch, with a devotion to making the most not just of his talent, but his opportunity. He has Alan Shearer’s goalscoring record in his sights and if he stays at the Etihad for a few more years then the sheer weight of important goals, and the number of them, will make him the Premier League’s best ever.
  • Kyle Walker almost left in the summer for Bayern Munich, and after Harry Kane, in Walker they had identified perhaps the most consistent English player on the planet. Walker’s pace at 33 is undimmed, and the confidence he garners from the exceedingly demanding Guardiola is guaranteed from his astute tactical positioning, his versatility across the pitch and his stamina to make sure he is exactly where he needs to be for the full 90 minutes.
  • Jack Grealish is their talismanic Englishman, known for his love of a good time and his attacking threat from wide on the pitch, Grealish is direct and confident, trusted by those around him after showing his true talents in the Manchester City squad as they won the treble.

Manchester City Captains 2023/24

  • Kyle Walker will be the lead captain at least in Kevin De Bruyne’s injury absence, and with his controversial appearances on the tabloid front pages seemingly a thing  of the past, he is now leading by example off the pitch as one of the chosen Manchester City captains..
  • Rodri is another player who showed his importance in his absence after a red card , meaning he missed the defeat to Arsenal. Few midfielders match his intelligence and his professionalism on the training ground will help keep standards high, especially as one of the five captains in the Manchester City squad..
  • In defence, central defender Ruben Dias is a calming presence at the back, with an imposing physique that helps Manchester City players around him focus on keeping the ball and getting forward to exploit gaps. Aged just 26, if he can put some minor fitness concerns behind him he could be a vital part of how Manchester City tactics evolve over the coming years.
  • Bernardo Silva is the newly elected captain by City players this season. Having flirted with the exit for the past two years he remains at the Etihad, and with his goalscoring exploits and attacking contributions, he is a vital cog in the plans of Guardiola for the coming season, and if he chooses to stay longer, beyond.

New Signings and Transfers

  • Jeremy Doku has been brought in to adjust the attacking options in the Manchester City squad. The 22-year-old Belgian already appears to be one of the top Manchester City players of the season so far, With his ability to play on both flanks, his technical skill, and pace, he can stretch opposition defences and provide overloads and exploit gaps across the front three, without diminishing his effectiveness.
  • Josko Gvardiol showed at the World Cup – except for one key moment against Lionel Messi – that he can add to the squad of Manchester City’s versatility. Guardiola is known for appreciating players who can transcend typical footballing roles, and with his talents to play through the middle and on the left flank, the Croatian can fill in where needed.
  • Mateo Kovacic was a surprise signing and is perhaps not one of the standout Manchester City stars, but he slots in with Premier League and Champions League experience, able to provide cover now Ilkay Gundogan and Cole Palmer have left. His knowledge of European football should help younger players develop as City look to repeat their Champions League success.
  • Matheus Nunes performs a similar role but at 25, the player who excels in a double pivot could be seen as the player two step further up the pitch as the long-term successor to Kevin De Bruyne in the City squad. With only a handful of goals he will be expected to contribute more in such a dominant side.

Youth Prospects

  • Rico Lewis looks to be Guardiola’s new favourite youngster, with the Spaniard calling him, “one of the best I’ve ever trained by far.”  The defender was promoted from the Manchester City development squad to lay claim to a place in the full squad.
  • Norwegian 20-year-old Oscar Bobb got his first start against Newcastle United earlier this season, and his manager praised a “brilliant performance,” for the player who could make his mark in the absence of Cole Palmer.
  • A left-field prospect for this season could be City’s promising Brazilian forward, Kayky. Featuring regularly for Bahia on loan this season, the youngster has been compared to Neymar because of his dribbling talents, so any kind of injury to Haaland or World Cup winner Julian Alvarez could see him back in the Manchester City squad.

Tactical Analysis

  • Guardiola is known for his tactical innovations, inverting his full-backs and playing with two number 8s, bringing the goalkeeper into his possession-based approach. With the introduction of Jeremy Doku, who has already started well, we could be seeing another evolution from the Spaniard where he uses pure, direct pace from the Belgian as he joins the new squad of Manchester City players.
  • City can switch between three at the back and four at the back within the same game, but Guardiola’s Manchester City tactics have often been defined by the ability of any player being able to pitch in anywhere on the pitch, with perhaps only Haaland remaining in a clearly and immovably fixed role. Each player has their specialism, but City are special for the tactical nous, technical ability and unrivalled physical capacity to execute their manager’s precise ideas. Always playing between the lines, creating and searching for space, and repeating the drills on the training ground.
  • The Catalan has carefully built the Manchester City squad for 2023/24, and with four major competitions to compete in, his squad, players and captains will have to be at their best if they are to even get close to last season’s historic success.
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