Pep Guardiola not looking to add to Manchester City’s defensive depth

Nathan Ake is expected to miss Saturday’s Premier League match against Crystal Palace after suffering a groin injury against Newcastle last weekend.

By Press Association Published: 26 August 2022 - 9.30pm

Pep Guardiola does not believe Manchester City need to add defensive depth in the remaining days of the transfer window despite injuries limiting his options at the back.

Nathan Ake is expected to miss Saturday’s Premier League match against Crystal Palace after suffering a groin injury against Newcastle last weekend, joining Aymeric Laporte – not due back for several weeks after knee surgery – on the sidelines.

Ruben Dias and John Stones are in line to start, but with teenager Luke Mbete also likely to be out after suffering a concussion in the midweek friendly against Barcelona, Guardiola has little back-up on the bench.

Even so, the City boss said he was not looking for reinforcements this week, with City’s transfer business thought to be done after Guardiola ruled out an exit for Bernardo Silva.

“Right now we have a problem with central defenders without Nathan and Aymi – we have just two, and hopefully Aymi will come back soon,” he said. “When you have many in the same position, it’s difficult. We try to avoid it but sometimes it happens.

“We thought about (signings) but Nathan is coming back soon, at the end of September or early October Aymi will be back too. I am happy with that. Maybe we will wake up in the morning and think we should buy a central defender, but we’re not thinking about that.”

Guardiola insisted he knew nothing of reports linking Mbete with a loan move, but admitted it was a possibility to give the 18-year-old more first-team experience.

Bernardo Silva in action at Newcastle
Guardiola ruled out an exit for Bernardo Silva (Owen Humphreys/PA)

“(Mbete) got a concussion in Barcelona and we are looking forward to seeing him but maybe the club is going to do (send him on loan), I don’t know,” he said.

“Maybe he needs to play regularly to be ready to play with us, go on loan like for example Macca (James McAtee) or Liam Delap – it’s important for them to play regularly.”

However, he insisted Cole Palmer – also linked with a loan move in some quarters – would not be going anywhere.

“Cole, it’s not going to happen because we count on him but the rest, it’s better for the club and for players themselves to see whether they can play with us. The gap from academy to first team is so big in terms of competition every weekend…

Cole Palmer in action
Cole Palmer had been linked with a loan move but Guardiola confirmed that he would not be leaving (Kieran Cleeves/PA)

“(Palmer’s) position is one step forward from the other ones. All the other guys can play with us but we decide sometimes on loan, sometimes here and Cole has a special quality.

“He was injured but now feels good, played really well in Barcelona and can play two or three different positions with no problem.”

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