Having barked up the Pep-Guardiola-will-raid-Barcelona-upon-taking-over-at-Manchester-City tree until emergency vocal chord surgery was required, the fully-recovered red top gossip peddlers have focused their attentions elsewhere.
One of the Spaniard’s current Bayern Munich charges features prominently among the rumours du jour, goalkeeper extraordinaire Manuel Neuer.
It’s reported Guardiola wants his soon-to-be-bosses to sign the German stopper, who has the potential to earn up to £300,000-a-week at the Etihad.
Debating Neuer’s talent would be a textbook exercise in time wasting, but pondering as to why Man City might sign him wouldn’t be.
They already stock a world-class, consistently brilliant number one in Joe Hart and, besides that, Guardiola has far bigger problems to address upon taking the reigns.
Here are but a few:
Concocting a system that allows frontmen to flourish other than Sergio Aguero.
The Argentine sharpshooter is one of the best in the business, but his frustrating propensity to sustain injury at the most untimely of moments means top level reinforcements must always be at the ready.
Obviously, there aren’t any equally able strikers who would be satisfied with sitting on the bench when Aguero’s bill of health is clean and, as Wilfried Bony is finding out just as Edin Dzeko did before him, elite frontmen at lesser outfits aren’t well suited to delivering after long spells of waiting in the wings.
Adapting Manuel Pellegrini’s modus operandi to accommodate City’s reserve goal-getters more readily will prevent the goals from drying up when the main man is in the sick bay.
Shifting out the deadwood.
City’s sky-high wage bill is clogged with ample 30-somethings who may be able performers at present, but aren’t going to improve in the near future.
If the Citizens aspire to being the overlords of the global game, they need a nucleus of talent that will grow with experience. Their £50m purchase of Raheem Sterling suggests it’s a statement the club agree with.
Improve durability on the road.
Just five away wins in the Premier League is very much par for the course, with only seven sides posting worse totals after 28 games.
For a team whose ambitions include world domination, being more formidable on their domestic travels is paramount.
Leicester, Arsenal and Tottenham all have at least seven away wins this term.