Mateo Kovacic, Josko Gvardiol and the 10 players Man City are most likely to sign in the 2023 summer transfer window

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Pep Guardiola's side have had an almost perfect season, but there is still room to improve, so who should they buy to build on their success?

How do Manchester City top a season like this? They have just wrapped up a third Premier League title and are on a quest to complete the treble. But Pep Guardiola has never stood still and is already planning the squad for next season.

It seems crazy to say it after an utterly dominant campaign domestically and in Europe, but there are several areas of the squad City need to address. They are keen to sign a new centre-back, with Aymeric Laporte expected to part ways with the club, and are looking to add a wide forward and a midfielder, too.

GOAL assesses who City are most likely to sign to continue their era of hegemony...

  1. Mateo Kovacic (Chelsea)

    Mateo Kovacic (Chelsea)

    City could be braced to lose one or both of Bernardo Silva and Ilkay Gundogan this summer, so signing a midfielder is one of their top priorities. Kovacic is a player City have shown a lot of interest in as the Croatian's contract with Chelsea runs into its final year and they have already opened talks with Mauricio Pochettino's side.

    The 29-year-old has stalled a bit at Chelsea and is on the club's for-sale list as they need to trim their squad. It might seem strange to see the champions go after a player who has underwhelmed in one of Chelsea's worst ever seasons, but Guardiola has long had a love affair with midfielders, once stating that his dream would be to field 10 midfielders in a starting 11.

    Kovacic is a tireless player who always puts in the work and has excellent ability for maintaining possession. He also has a superb attitude and will not kick up a fuss if he is left out for the odd game, something which is bound to happen when Guardiola is your coach.

  2. Josko Gvardiol (RB Leipzig)

    Josko Gvardiol (RB Leipzig)

    Gvardiol is just the type of player Guardiola loves, and not just because their names sound similar! The Croatian has all the makings of a perfect utility player and could be the solution to several areas the coach needs to address, such as centre-back, full-back and midfield.

    One of the breakout stars of the 2022 World Cup, Gvardiol is physically imposing yet technically brilliant, making him a perfect fit for the Premier League. And City have made his signing a priority for the summer.

    Guardiola would relish turning him into a full-back that can effectively operate as a midfielder, just as he has done with Phillip Lahm, Joshua Kimmich, Dani Alves and Joao Cancelo in the past, and most recently with John Stones.

    Gvardiol will not come cheap and City would expect to play between £70-80 million for him. But given he is only 21 and could stay at the club for a decade or more if things go well, it would be a price worth paying.

  3. Jeremie Frimpong (Bayer Leverkusen)

    Jeremie Frimpong (Bayer Leverkusen)

    City's long-term future at right-back is far from certain as Kyle Walker is 32, and although he has finished the season strongly, he has experienced spells out of the team and Guardiola brutally aired his own doubts about his ability as an inverted full-back.

    Signing Frimpong would be a divergence from the inside full-back model Guardiola has favoured in the latter half of the season, but attacking full-backs are always in high demand and Frimpong is one of the best around right now.

    The Dutchman has been one of the outstanding full-backs in the Bundesliga since joining Leverkusen from Celtic in 2021, scoring nine goals and 10 assists in the league and Europa League. He has been playing as a wing back in Xabi Alonso's 3-4-3 system, but has the ability to play in a back four or even further forward on the right wing.

    Signing Frimpong would mean City would have to swallow their pride, as he spent nine years in their academy before leaving for Celtic in 2019 without having played for the first team. However, that could work to City's advantage as he already knows the club and the city of Manchester, so would have few troubles reintegrating.

  4. Moussa Diaby (Bayer Leverkusen)
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    Moussa Diaby (Bayer Leverkusen)

    Another area City are looking to strengthen is on the right of their attack to provide competition for Riyad Mahrez. And Diaby is one of the most exciting wide forwards in the world right now.

    In the last two seasons, he has scored 31 goals and provided 25 assists, numbers to make any coach or sporting director sit up and take notice. The 23-year-old plays on the right but is naturally left-footed, loving to cut inside from the wing.

    Diaby would cost City around £70m, but after making a profit on transfers last season and earning increased prize money for reaching the Champions League final, it is a fee they could comfortably afford.

  5. Theo Hernandez (AC Milan)

    Theo Hernandez (AC Milan)

    The France left-back would be an ideal replacement for Cancelo, who is almost certain to leave City after not taking well to losing his place in the team to Nathan Ake.

    After an ill-fated move from Atletico Madrid to Real Madrid stalled his career, Hernandez has blossomed into one of the finest full-backs in the world and would be an obvious choice for City as they scour the market.

    He is of a different profile to Ake, but Guardiola is always looking to evolve his team to prevent them from becoming predictable, and Hernandez's ability to get up and down the pitch and cause danger make him an attractive prospect.

  6. Alphonso Davies (Bayern Munich)
    Getty Images

    Alphonso Davies (Bayern Munich)

    Davies is another player City could look at to replace Cancelo. The Canadian is one of the fastest players in European football but he is about far more than just pace. He has outstanding dribbling ability and is adept at holding on to the ball until he sees the right pass, a skill Guardiola values highly.

    Davies, 22, has two years left on his contract with Bayern and the time is right to strike, with his agent drumming up interest in the player recently, though the Bavarians are also looking to extend his deal.

  7. Serge Gnabry (Bayern Munich)
    Getty Images

    Serge Gnabry (Bayern Munich)

    The Germany forward has had to play as a centre-forward for Bayern for much of the season and City could be a route back to his favoured position on the right of the attack. Gnabry would give City an extra edge in attack and he has unfinished business in the Premier League after disappointing spells at Arsenal and West Brom early in his career.

  8. Ethan Nwaneri (Arsenal)

    Ethan Nwaneri (Arsenal)

    Nwaneri made history by becoming the youngest player to play in the Premier League when he made his debut for Arsenal against Brentford in September. But his next Premier League game could come in a City shirt.

    The champions are reportedly leading the race to sign the forward to his first professional contract when he turns 17. Nwaneri has been at Arsenal since the age of nine, but City have developed one of the best academies in the world and turned into a top finishing school for young prospects.

    Phil Foden is the most famous academy graduate to have played for the first team, but many youngsters have gone on to thrive elsewhere after passing through City's academy, such as Jadon Sancho, Romeo Lavia, Jeremie Frimpong and Brahim Diaz.

  9. Kim Min-jae (Napoli)

    Kim Min-jae (Napoli)

    The South Korea centre-back has just helped Napoli sweep to the Serie A title and the success has inevitably attracted the attention of Europe's top clubs, including City. The defender is a force of nature, an imposing 6'3 in figure who acts as a one-man defensive wall.

    Kim is a master at robbing the ball back and is highly composed on the ball, allowing him to step further up the pitch and play the ball into midfield. He is of a similar profile to Ruben Dias, and his presence would ensure the Portuguese does not get comfortable or complacent.

    Kim only moved to Napoli last year from Fenerbahce for €19 million, but his contract with the newly-crowned champions contains a release clause of €50m. That could play into City's hands, as the club tend to favour deals where they can pay a release clause and not be dragged into tense, drawn-out negotiations.

    They signed Erling Haaland from Borussia Dortmund by activating his £51m release clause, and did the same to get Laporte from Athletic Club and Dias from Benfica.

  10. Jude Bellingham (Borussia Dortmund)

    Jude Bellingham (Borussia Dortmund)

    Real Madrid looked to have won the race to sign Bellingham last month, but Karim Benzema's departure could change everything. Los Blancos expected Benzema to sign an extension on his deal, but he is now set to leave after accepting an eye-watering move from Al Ittihad, and Madrid now need to sign a number nine for next season.

    Their pursuit for a centre-forward could jeopardize their proposed £108 million move for Bellingham, allowing City, the only club who could realistically afford the England midfielder, to strike.