[sociallocker id=”199380″]Premier League heavyweights Manchester City are eager to build a squad with English players in the centre and have targeted as much as four English players from three top-flight rivals to do it.
As it stands, 20 of Manchester City’s 24-strong first-team are foreign players – an astonishing 83% of the squad. Understandably, this has been met with criticism from various sectors, claiming that a big club such as City should be giving local talent a chance.
Premier League’s home-grown players rule was supposed to prevent City from overstocking their squad with foreigners but City have done satisfactorily so far with abiding with the regulations. However, a trend was soon becoming more apparent – that the club was just signing English players to follow the ruling but are not really giving those players a chance in the first-team.
One notable example is Fabian Delph, who was Aston Villa captain when City bought him from the Claret and Blues back in the summer of 2015. This season, he has played in only five league games.
However, Citizens manager Pep Guardiola is hoping to change that dynamic, telling The Telegraph, “I would like to have more English players, because they know the league and that is much better. I am really impressed with how many good English players your country has.
“But, you have to believe me, they are so expensive. [They cost] £10-million, £15-million or even £20-million more. Today everything is so expensive that is the truth,” Guardiola added.
Regardless, Guardiola is still hopeful of signing every one of his targets. “The club has worked for a long time with the academy, they are thinking about the next few years, hopefully they will come through with me, maybe it will be a different manager. But I would like four or five [English] boys in the side,” the former Barcelona head coach said.
And those four Englishmen could come at a steep cost.
Jack Wilshere (Arsenal)
The 25-year-old Wilshere has suffered a bit of fall from grace this season. With injuries plaguing much of his career so far, the Gunners have decided to send him on loan to Bournemouth this season, and he seems to be taking it well, his talent apparent in his 25 league appearances for the Cherries in this campaign.
Arsenal, however, are keen to get Wilshere off the payroll – giving Manchester City a chance to sign the midfielder from Stevenage.
Jonathan Pickford (Sunderland)
Pickford, 23, has been in excellent form for relegation-battlers Sunderland this season. Even with the Black Cats’ defence in heavy disarray, the England U21 international has managed to stand his ground and pull off magnificent saves. He has conceded only 31 goals this season, averaging five saves per game.
Pickford also has international pedigree – he already has 44 U21 caps under his belt, a fact that will certainly not be lost on Guardiola.
Danny Rose (Tottenham Hotspur)
The 26-year-old full-back from Doncaster has been in impressive form for Tottenham this season. Indeed, his blistering runs from the left-side of defence has been a thorn for many of Spurs’ opposition so far. Skilled in both attacking and defending, he has proven to be one of the most pivotal players in Tottenham’s rise in the league in this campaign.
Unlike the previous two, Rose will unlikely go for a price below £20-million – a fact that Guardiola will have to take into account.
Dele Alli (Tottenham Hotspur)
Of all the players in this list, Alli is perhaps the most ambitious target – and the most expensive. Indeed, it will be very difficult, perhaps bordering on impossible, to see Spurs let go of such a valuable player. A silky midfielder with a knack for scoring goals, Alli has been on fire for Tottenham this season, scoring 15 goals and seven assists in 37 appearances across all competitions.
The 20-year-old midfielder has a long list of suitors as well, with Real Madrid at the forefront of those chasing Alli’s signature. It would be a big success for City and Guardiola if Alli signs for them in the summer.