Bellingham, Rafael Leao and six players who could sign for Man City in the January transfer window

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Bellingham-Leao split
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City have tended to steer away from the January transfer window, but could an imperfect start to the season tempt them to be more active this winter?

In recent years, Manchester City have rarely made any high-profile signings in the January transfer window. However, as Aymeric Laporte's arrival in 2018 shows, Pep Guardiola is not entirely against winter recruitment if the right player comes along and the need is there.

And with City enduring a tricky start to the season - they currently trail Arsenal at the top of the Premier League table - 2022 could be the time for orthodoxies to change.

GOAL has taken a look at some of the players that could be on the club's longlist this January...

  1. Jude Bellingham (Borussia Dortmund)

    Jude Bellingham (Borussia Dortmund)

    The race for Bellingham is well and truly on.

    His stock was already sky-high before the World Cup, but Bellingham's mature, all-action displays in Qatar means he is now the most sought-after footballer on the planet by some margin.

    Borussia Dortmund are keen not to sell until the summer, and reports have suggested that Bellingham himself favours a move to Liverpool.

    Despite all that, City will no doubt be doing all that they can to ensure the midfielder reunites with Erling Haaland at the Etihad. Haaland's recommendation, their ability to offer market-best wages and the Guardiola factor provide the Premier League champions will three persuasive bargaining chips too.

    Why wait until the end of the season? We all know Bellingham is going to be the best midfielder in the world before too long, so City should act fast and blindside their transfer rivals this winter.

  2. Rafael Leao (AC Milan)

    Rafael Leao (AC Milan)

    City have continuously evolved their front line since Guardiola took over and this summer was no different.

    As well as adding Erling Haaland to their ranks, long-serving duo Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus were both moved on. There could be further chopping and changing this January too, with Riyad Mahrez enduring a testing start to the campaign.

    Should Guardiola feel the need to dip into the market again, City could do a lot worse than the irresistible Rafael Leao.

    Possessing a devastating blend of physical and technical attributes, the powerful wide forward has been linked with a move to Chelsea for some time. But he would also make a superb signing for the Cityzens.

  3. Josko Gvardiol (RB Leipzig)

    Josko Gvardiol (RB Leipzig)

    Croatia's masked defender, Josko Gvardiol, was one of the breakout stars of the 2022 World Cup.

    Mobile and authorative despite being only 20, his tidy displays were a key reason for his country making it to a second successive semi-final on the grandest stage. Despite being rinsed by Lionel Messi in Croatia's penultimate game in Qatar, some of Europe's biggest clubs will be queueing up to sign Gvardiol this winter.

    That includes City, who are only ever an injury or two away from being forced to field Rodri at centre-back.

    RB Leipzig are tough negotiators and the competition for his signature, combined with his excellent World Cup performance, could jack up the price. Even still, it's clear Gvardiol will be among the best defenders on the planet within a few years, and City should aim to get him in the building.

  4. Youri Tielemans (Leicester City)
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    Youri Tielemans (Leicester City)

    Youri Tielemans has been a constant fixture of the rumour mill over the past few years, but it finally looks like his Leicester career is drawing to a close.

    The Belgian midfield general's contract expires at the end of the season, and despite the Foxes' best efforts, a new deal is looking increasingly unlikely as we edge closer to the summer holidays.

    Arsenal and Liverpool are both admirers of Tielemans all-action performances, but City might be tempted to throw their hat into the ring too.

    Ilkay Gundogan could leave the club at the end of the current campaign, while Kalvin Phillips was publicly shamed by Guardiola for his poor fitness recently. This means City could soon be very short of options in central midfield.

    Step forward Tielemans, a proven Premier League performer and experienced international who is ready for the big move he's long been touted for.

  5. Raphael Guerreiro (Borussia Dortmund)
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    Raphael Guerreiro (Borussia Dortmund)

    Guardiola can never have enough full-backs. And when they can play in midfield too, it's pretty much nailed on that the City boss will pester the club to submit a bid.

    Dortmund star Guerreiro fits this profile perfectly and could represent a smart January addition to the squad

    He forced Joao Cancelo out of the Portugal starting XI during the World Cup, with Guerreiro getting the nod for his side's infamous 6-1 thrashing of Switzerland - a story that flew under the radar somewhat due to the Cristiano Ronaldo situation.

    This wasn't him bursting onto the scene, though. Guerreiro has been quietly exceptional in the Bundesliga for many years, capable of bursting past his markers and delivering into the box with his accurate left foot.

    He's not a bad defender either, and with only a few months left to run on his current deal, he won't cost much.

  6. Ethan Nwaneri (Arsenal)

    Ethan Nwaneri (Arsenal)

    Ethan Nwaneri made headlines across the world this season when he became the youngest player in Premier League history after coming on as substitute during Arsenal's 3-0 victory over Brentford.

    Manager Mikel Arteta was criticised for placing pressure on the 15-year-old's shoulders, and there is indeed now a hype train running that threatens to derail the youngster's career.

    Then again, perhaps Nwaneri thrives off expectation and pressure. If that is the case, then making a controversial move to the Etihad would be an excellent next step for his development.

    Although City are not known for including youngsters in the first team, Phil Foden's story shows that if Guardiola believes in you, he will craft a plan to get the absolute best of you in the long term.

    If Nwaneri backs himself and the Cityzens boss is a fan, this could be a match made in heaven.