Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City revolution began with the signings of 25-year-old midfielder Ilkay Gundogan and 29-year-old forward Nolito, but the two-time Premier League champions have largely been linked with significantly younger targets since.
As well as snapping up teenage Ukraine midfielder Oleksandr Zinchenko, multiple reports suggest City are weighing up moves for Atletico Nacional’s Marlos Moreno, Schalke’s Leroy Sane, Atletico Madrid’s Lucas Hernandez and Everton’s John Stones, the elder statesman of that quartet at 22-years-old.
This may seem a risky move at first glance, with Guardiola’s Citizens bwin’s 9/4 favourites for a third title in five years and therefore expected to deliver, but our graphic below indicates just how shrewd signing such rookies may prove.
City’s confirmed/mooted signings not only land close to the optimum average of 24 (the seven named above average out at 22), three of them come from the most popular age bracket of 20-24, while another two fit in the group lagging just behind (25-29).
Guardiola also appears to be targeting something like a title-winning spread of acquisitions, with two new midfielders in the squad (another, Australian Aaron Mooy, was swiftly loaned out to Huddersfield), a forward signed and another two thought to be under consideration, plus two centre-back targets.
With four senior centre-halves in the Etihad squad, at least three of whom seem likely to still be at the club at the end of the transfer window, Guardiola will surely zero in on either Lucas or Stones, particularly considering the pair will surely fetch combined fees north of £50m.
The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss looks set to defy the positional stats with a move for Barcelona’s presumed second-choice goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen, although the Germany international just about fits the optimum age range at 24-years-old.