Pep Guardiola Comments on Aleksandar Kolarov, Kelechi Iheanacho Futures

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistJuly 21, 2017

Manchester City's Serbian defender Aleksandar Kolarov celebrates on the pitch after the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Manchester City at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on September 10, 2016.
Pep Guardiola savoured a derby success over arch-rival Jose Mourinho on Saturday as Manchester City beat Manchester United 2-1 in an engrossing Premier League clash.
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Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has confirmed Aleksandar Kolarov is close to completing a move to AS Roma, while Kelechi Iheanacho is also due to leave the club in the near future. 

Per ESPN.co.uk's Jonathan Smith, he said of the Serbian full-back: "Kolarov is one step to go to Roma."

The Spanish manager added: 

"Kola helped me a lot last season in terms of many, many things. But he had a big chance to go back to Rome where he was before, and he spoke to me, the club and asked me to leave.

"I don't like to stay with players who don't want to stay. That's why it's the best option for everybody."

Per Metro.co.uk's Simon Rice, the City boss said of Iheanacho:

"Kelechi is a young player. It was easy, an honour to work with him, because it's not easy for him, I didn't give him a lot of choices. But he's close to making a transfer. Maybe in the next week, in the next 10 days, it's going to finish."

Kolarov, 31, has made 247 appearances for the Sky Blues in the seven years he has spent at the club. 

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He previously made over 100 appearances for Lazio prior to joining City, but it appears the Giallorossi will put his stint with their bitter rivals behind them.

His departure will leave City with no senior players at left-back, so even if City manage to bring in Benjamin Mendy from Monaco, whom Smith reported they are pursuing, they may need to bring in another as cover.

Per Goal's Sam Lee, the versatility of transfer target Danilo could see him operate as cover for both Kyle Walker and Mendy, however:

Sam Lee @Sammy_Goal

Guardiola reckons Danilo can play RB, LB and CM, too. So that's the thinking between three full-backs, not four. See how things change...

That still leaves City at risk should they suffer injuries, but if the need should arise, they may have to call on a younger player to make the step up.

As for Iheanacho, Guardiola added the club's decision to let him leave is so he can garner the minutes he needs in order to develop, but he will depart with a buy-back clause so City will "have the opportunity in a few years to bring him back."

The 20-year-old has made just 20 starts for City in all competitions over the last two seasons, but he is an excellent prospect, having contributed 21 goals and eight assists in that time.

Per Squawka Football, he's clinical when he hits the target:

Squawka Football @Squawka

Kelechi Iheanacho's shots on target in the league for Man City: ⚽️❌⚽️⚽️❌⚽️⚽️⚽️❌⚽️❌⚽️⚽️⚽️❌❌⚽️❌⚽️ 19 shots on target 🎯 12 goals scored ⚽️ https://t.co/InqmFSJF4f

According to Squawka, he boasted an already impressive 57 per cent shot accuracy in the 2015-16 Premier League season, which improved to 64 per cent last year.

Iheanacho deserved a better chance at City than he received, but with Sergio Aguero and now Gabriel Jesus to contend with, letting him leave is the right call.

The Nigerian should prove a real asset to his new club, rumoured to be Leicester City, West Ham United or Southampton, according to Rice, while a buy-back clause could see him return to Man City a more complete player if he develops well following his move.


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