Mahrez, Palmer and six players who could leave Man City in the January transfer window

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The Premier League's champions' squad is as trim as it's ever been, but that doesn't mean that there won't be some movement this winter

Manchester City's mission for the second part of the 2022-23 season is simple. Catch Arsenal, win a few domestic cups and finally end their Champions League hoodoo.

Okay, maybe that's not so simple.

Pep Guardiola was fairly active in the summer, with plenty of first-teamers being moved on and the likes of Erling Haaland, Julian Alvarez and Manuel Akanji arriving in the other direction.

As a result, the City squad is not particularly flabby. But several players could still edge towards the exit door in January.

GOAL takes at look who that might be...

  1. Riyad Mahrez

    Riyad Mahrez

    Mahrez has been one of City's most productive attackers in recent seasons. However, it has not worked out for the Algerian during the 2022-23 campaign so far.

    Just one goal in nine Premier League matches before the break painted a grim picture of Mahrez's waning influence, and at 31, he could be tempted to pursue a move away from the Etihad if his playing time does not increase soon.

    Although the six weeks off and Guardiola's propensity to rotate even more towards the business end of the season could rejuvenate the fading star, he may not want to wait around for minutes at this stage of his career.

    His age makes him a risky buy, but a move to Chelsea - who are seemingly looking to refresh their forward line this winter - is not an unrealistic proposition.

  2. Morgan Rogers
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    Morgan Rogers

    Rogers has had a strange few months. Joining a bloated Bournemouth squad at the beginning of the 2021-22 season, he played a marginal role, scoring just once before having his loan spell cut short in February.

    To compound matters, he was also unable to feature for City's development side as, due to the nature of his loan agreement, he was still technically a Cherries player until the summer.

    Since then, a mysterious injury has kept him off the pitch. However, he recently posted a picture on social media of him training with the first-team squad alongside the caption 'Project Comeback PT2'.

    This seems to suggest he's fit again, and all he needs now is some gametime. There are likely to be plenty of suitors in the Championship, but City need to ensure he goes somewhere where he's going to get significant minutes.

  3. Sergio Gomez
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    Sergio Gomez

    Gomez is your typical Guardiola signing. Technically exquisite and capable of playing in Pep's two favourite positions, full-back and midfield, the 22-year-old will likely have a significant role to play at City over the next few years.

    For now though, he very much remains on the fringes of the first-team squad, featuring sporadically across a range of competitions.

    His short-term development could be aided by a brief loan stint in Europe. Although this will likely depend on Guardiola dipping into the transfer market to strengthen in midfield, as City will be light in that area should Gomez leave. Saying that, Kalvin Phillips' return from injury should help.

  4. Rico Lewis
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    Rico Lewis

    Hopes are high for Lewis in Manchester. Despite only just being old enough to buy a pint, the versatile defender - who has principally been deployed at right-back so far - has already made his Premier League and Champions League debuts, and even netted in his side's final group game against Sevilla in November.

    Racing onto Julian Alvarez's through ball, Lewis fired past Morocco World Cup hero Yassine Bounou at the near post. He looked, quite understandably, delighted.

    City will likely want Lewis to follow the Phil Foden path and stay around the fringes of the first team while he waits for his chance.

    Again though, a loan is a definite option. Playing every week in the Championship would be a mentally-strengthening experience for the youngster, who has been capped at various youth levels for England.

  5. Josh Wilson-Esbrand
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    Josh Wilson-Esbrand

    Another City youngster who was already graced the field on a European night, Josh Wilson-Esbrand is still awaiting his Premier League debut.

    The marauding left-back carries the ball with an authority that defies his tender years and even grabbed an assist in his sole Carabao Cup appearance against Wycombe Wanderers during the 2021-22 campaign.

    Now 19, Wilson-Esbrand is primed to play proper football week in, week out. Parachuting him into a second-tier side who like to control possession would surely be beneficial for his development.

  6. Cole Palmer

    Cole Palmer

    Palmer is perhaps the pick of the bunch when it comes to the current generation of City youth prospects.

    But much like Foden before him - whom he has also been compared to - Palmer has had to be patient when waiting for his opportunity to impress. Overall, the England Under-21 international has made 25 appearances across four seasons.

    In a typically Guardiola way, he is comfortable playing almost anywhere in midfield or in the forward line and lower-tier Premier League clubs would be lining up to take him on loan for the next six months or so.