Pep Guardiola Talks Manchester City Summer Transfers, Benjamin Mendy Worries

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistMarch 2, 2019

Manchester City's Spanish manager Pep Guardiola (L) throws the ball to Manchester City's French defender Benjamin Mendy (R) during the English Premier League football match between Manchester City and Huddersfield Town at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north west England, on August 19, 2018. (Photo by Lindsey PARNABY / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. /         (Photo credit should read LINDSEY PARNABY/AFP/Getty Images)

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has said the club will be looking to bring in as many as four new players in the summer transfer window and detailed his concerns over the fitness of Benjamin Mendy.

While City have a squad packed with quality, there are areas in which they look light, most notably at left-back and the base of midfield.

Guardiola said ahead of Saturday's Premier League game with Bournemouth that City would be in the market for a number of players again come the end of the season, despite another campaign in which they're on course for numerous successes, per Sam Lee of Goal:

"I don't know what's going to happen but we are thinking about the chance to find somebody in that position, but I don't know. There are three or four positions I think we have to try to look for and we have some ideas. I don't know in the end what is going to happen but it is an option, yeah, to buy a left-back."

The fact that Guardiola made specific reference to a left-back will represent something of a worry for Mendy, who has seen a second consecutive campaign at the Etihad Stadium ruined by injury issues.

Although the France international has shown in glimpses he is capable of adding an extra dimension to City's play when he is fit, Guardiola said he's getting concerned by the amount of matches the former Monaco man is missing.

"Yeah, yeah yeah," said Guardiola when asked if he was worried about Mendy. "If it happens in two seasons, it can happen three, yeah definitely. Hopefully not, we'll work with that, he's working with that, but the truth is we could use him in few games."

Per ESPN FC's Ben Dinnery, Mendy is said to be close to a return to action from his latest layoff with a knee concern:

Ben Dinnery @BenDinnery

Mendy returned to the squad midweek. Available, but lacks fitness/sharpness. John Stones (groin) will be fit again "soon". And Fabian Delph is available following injury (ankle) and illness but won't be considered. #MCFC 🚑 https://t.co/cckOHhGs0b

BBC's David Mooney noted that Guardiola was non-committal over the player's condition prior to the match with West Ham United on Wednesday:

David Mooney @DavidMooney

Mendy has trained for the last three or four days and had no reaction to his knee. Is he fit to play? "Yeah. Maybe." #MCFC

Having accrued 100 points in the Premier League last season with Fabian Delph operating as a left-back for most of their games, City do have options to step into the role when required. Oleksandr Zinchenko has filled in during Mendy's absence and performed well.

Aside from the left side of the defence, City also clearly need an alternative to Fernandinho, who has proved himself to be one of the most indispensable members of the squad with his commanding midfield displays.

Per Lee, such is his importance the Brazilian has arguably been pushed a little too hard:

Sam Lee @Sammy_Goal

It was already obvious that Guardiola is taking the domestic cup competitions very seriously this season, even if it risks injuries, but it's quite something to say they might risk Fernandinho for the Swansea game!

If Mendy can put together a run of games upon returning from injury, then fears over the left-back position will be eased, as he's shown that he has a lot to offer in his time at City and previously at Monaco.

Bringing in another midfielder with the combativeness and defensive awareness should be top of Guardiola's transfer agenda if his team is to challenge on all four fronts again in 2019-20.