Sergio Gomez will be Manchester City’s last signing of the summer, unless someone leaves, according to Pep Guardiola. The Spanish full-back is close to sealing a €10m (£8.5m) move from Anderlecht.
City began the season without an orthodox senior left-back in the squad, starter João Cancelo, who has played there regularly since arriving at City, against West Ham in their first game, with teenage full-backs Joshua Wilson-Ebrand and Rico Lewis the bank Gomez will not sign in time to face Bournemouth on Saturday, so Cancelo is likely to keep his place.
Kalvin Philips is unavailable through injury and Cole Palmer is a doubt for the game against Bournemouth. If Palmer misses out, Guardiola claims he will be left with 14 fit first-team outfield players for the season opener at the home of the champions. The Spaniard insists that he has faith in those available. “No, I’m very, very happy with the team, no [big] in terms of numbers, but there is incredible versatility and they all have great quality, even the youngsters in the academy,” Guardiola said. “The quality is there, they just have to push each other to the next step this season. If no one moves, I don’t think anyone comes in.”
Former Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany was asked for advice on Gomez, who played under the Belgian at Anderlecht last season. The Spanish under-21 international will bring versatility to the squad as he can play in various positions. “He was number 10, like Alex Zinchenko, now he has adapted in this position. When this happens, [Johan] Cruyff told me all the time that when a full-back can play as a left-back he will be the best left-back. When a holding midfielder can play as a central defender, he will be the best central defender.
“I like it when the players come here, it’s a dream because they give everything for us. He is so young, open to learning. I talked to Vinny about him. He needs to get better in some departments, that’s why he’s 21 years old and will get better. But it’s perfect for what it needs.”
Guardiola reiterated his desire to keep Bernardo Silva at the club despite interest in the Barcelona midfielder. “One hundred and ten percent I want him to stay. I love him,” said Guardiola. “I get weak when I talk about him. He’s a special person. I don’t know what’s going to happen, but he knows how much we like him and want him and love him.”
After Erling Haaland’s stunning brace on his Premier League debut, Guardiola hopes the striker can become a City icon. “Tomorrow [against Bournemouth] it will be a new challenge and he is 22 years old with a long career ahead of him and if he wants to be better he will continue to improve”, said the coach. “I will encourage him to be a better player, a better finisher and [he has to] think today I will be better than yesterday, try to train today better than yesterday. When that happens, he has the skills to be one of the greatest goalscorers of all time.”
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