What next for Manchester City?
Pep Guardiola’s men have won the title with ease, but seem unwilling to settle for that.
Manchester City are celebrating their third Premier League title in seven seasons after a remarkable campaign. Yet with captain Vincent Kompany already speaking of his desire to retain the crown next season, it is clear this is not the limit of their ambitions.
Here, Press Association Sport looks at what the next steps for the club might be.
New contract for Guardiola
Some positive noises coming out of Man City re Guardiola's contract. The club are confident he will stay beyond his current three-year deal and talks over a new one should take place next summer #MCFC— Andy Hampson (@andyhampson) December 17, 2017
The top priority for this summer will surely be to secure the services of inspirational manager Pep Guardiola for longer than the one year remaining on his contract. Negotiations have long been planned for the end of the season and the club are confident, although Guardiola – who stepped down at Barcelona and Bayern Munich after four and three years respectively – has always been coy on the subject in public.
City spent around £200million on new players last summer and landed Aymeric Laporte in a club record £57million deal in January, and money will again be available for further reinforcements. City are known to want another defensive midfielder and, having failed in recent attempts to sign Alexis Sanchez and Riyad Mahrez, they will also look again for an attacking player.
Champions League challenge
It is no secret that the trophy the club’s top brass covet the most is the Champions League. After seven successive seasons in competition, City are no longer novices on the elite European stage. Going out in the quarter-finals to Liverpool was undoubtedly the season’s low point. City and Guardiola will now redouble efforts in this area.
Bidding to retain title
As well as conquering Europe, City want to establish a period of domestic dominance. This was clearly part of Sheikh Mansour’s plan when he took over the club in 2008 but it is only this season that the club have truly taken charge of the Premier League. The 2012 and 2014 title wins were both secured on the final day and the progression since has not been as rapid as hoped.
Youthful team improving
The nucleus of the City squad that has produced such exhilarating and powerful football this season has youth on its side. John Stones (23), Laporte (23), Benjamin Mendy (23), Leroy Sane (22), Bernardo Silva (23), Raheem Sterling (23) and Gabriel Jesus (21) all have many more years and plenty of potential left in them while Kevin De Bruyne (26), Kyle Walker (27) and Ilkay Gundogan (27) could be coming into their peak years. With Sergio Aguero (29) and David Silva (32) not slowing down much, City are in a strong position.