Manchester City have returned from their pre-season tour of the United States and begin the new season on Saturday with a Community Shield final against Liverpool, but Pep Guardiola still hasn’t signed a left-back.
City have been linked with Marc Cucurella for weeks, but they can’t see eye-to-eye with Brighton & Hove Albion on a transfer fee. City had an opening bid of £30m rejected and were told to pay £50m for the 24-year-old, but it remains to be seen if they’ll cave in.
Where will Manchester City finish in the Premier League this season?
5th or lower
Benjamin Mendy has been suspended for nearly a year following allegations of sexual assault and rape, but a replacement left-back wasn’t lined up in 2021. Instead, Joao Cancelo operated in a makeshift role for most of the season while Oleksandr Zinchenko was his deputy.
Zinchenko has since left City to join Arsenal, so Guardiola doesn’t have a first-team left-back to call upon. Josh Wilson-Esbrand is an option for Pep and greatly impressed in pre-season, but he’s on 19 years of age and has just one senior appearance to his name. It’s a big risk.
So long as Kyle Walker stays fit, he can start at right-back to allow Cancelo on the left, but Guardiola will be in trouble if either player picks up a knock. Callin upon Aymeric Laporte or Nathan Ake to play out wide isn’t ideal, so the City manager needs two left-sided defenders.
After the Community Shield final, City lock horns with West Ham United on August 7. Will Cucurella be confirmed by then?