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Manchester Evening News
Manchester Evening News
Dan Brown

Man City's best starting line-up and substitutes following January transfer window

Manchester City signed just one player in the January transfer window, with Pep Guardiola allowing several players to depart on loan before the deadline on Tuesday.

Portuguese full-back Joao Cancelo made a surprise switch to Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich on deadline day, with the 28-year-old defender keen to depart after falling down the pecking order in recent weeks. The Blues opted against replacing Cancelo, with Guardiola content with his defensive options.

City's only addition in the window was 20-year-old Argentinian midfielder Maximo Perrone from Velez Sarsfield. He arrived at the Etihad Stadium on a five-and-half-year deal. The youngster made his debut for Velez in March 2022 - registering three goals and two assists in 33 games.

ALSO READ: Man City hold firm on transfer gamble ahead of another big summer

Several young players - including Liam Delap and Josh Wilson-Esbrand - departed on loan, but it was a reasonably quiet window for the reigning Premier League champions.

Despite not making any notable first-team signings, City will be confident of retaining their top-flight crown this season, while also aiming to triumph in the Champions League and FA Cup. MEN Sport looked at what could be the Blues' strongest starting line-up and substitutes following the January transfer window...

Goalkeeper - Ederson

Unsurprisingly, Brazilian goalkeeper Ederson starts in between the sticks. The shot-stopper has been in good form for Guardiola's side this season and has kept eight clean sheets in the Premier League - the same amount as Manchester United ace David de Gea.

Ederson, like all of this teammates, is desperate to taste success once again this season, and the 29-year-old will be vital if that is to happen. Stefan Ortega is pushing him, but is firmly the second-choice.

Defenders - Kyle Walker, Manuel Akanji, Ruben Dias, Nathan Ake

With Cancelo having left for Bayern, it appears that Nathan Ake will continue at left-back for City. The Dutchman has performed well in that role in recent weeks and even scored the winner against Arsenal in the FA Cup. On the other flank, Kyle Walker has struggled for minutes this term and Rico Lewis has been starting ahead of him.

However, the England international is experienced and with the Blues chasing the Gunners down in the league, that could prove to be important. Given that John Stones is sidelined with an injury, the strongest centre-back pairing - on current form - could be Manuel Akanji and Ruben Dias. Aymeric Laporte could easily play in place of one of them, but the 28-year-old has made just 11 starts this term.

Midfielders - Rodri, Bernardo Silva, Kevin De Bruyne

Kalvin Phillips has struggled since his arrival from Leeds, which means that Rodri is comfortably the club's first-choice defensive midfielder. City look a better side when the Spaniard is on the pitch, and he continues to do a great job protecting the defence. Ahead of him, Kevin De Bruyne and Bernardo Silva both have to start.

De Bruyne has registered 17 assists already this season, while Bernardo - albeit linked with a move away in the summer - offers Guardiola's side something completely different. The Blues have tinkered with their midfielder this campaign, but it still remains one of their best weapons.

Forwards - Riyad Mahrez, Erling Haaland, Jack Grealish

In recent weeks, Riyad Mahrez and Jack Grealish have been Guardiola's go-to players on the wings, and the attackers have both performed well. The former has scored 10 goals in all competitions this season, and while Grealish has managed just two, he is showing glimpses of the form he was in at Aston Villa.

Erling Haaland, meanwhile, is set to break several records this term, with the 22-year-old striker having registered 31 goals in 27 matches for City. He has already bagged four hat-tricks for the Blues and could potentially be the difference between success and failure in the Champions League.

Strongest Man City XI after January transfer window: Ederson; Walker, Akanji, Dias, Ake; Rodri, Bernardo Silva, De Bruyne; Mahrez, Haaland, Grealish.

Substitutes - Stefan Ortega, Aymeric Laporte, Rico Lewis, John Stones (when fit), Kalvin Phillips, Ilkay Gundogan, Cole Palmer, Phil Foden, Julian Alvarez.

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