By North-west correspondent Alex Stevens
Pep Guardiola has discussed at length potential summer targets for Manchester City, Football Insider sources understand.
The new City manager has been in regular contact with director of football Txiki Begiristain and chief executive Ferran Soriano since a deal was agreed in December for him to replace Manuel Pellegrini at the end of the season.
Guardiola will be presented with a kitty of at least £150million to turn City into the dominant force in English and European football.
Discussions have taken place between Guardiola, Begiristain and Soriano, who worked together so successfully during the manager’s trophy-laden Barcelona spell, about the positions and players to target as part of a summer recruitment drive.
A City source has told Football Insider that the club will be in the market for a new centre-back, right-back, left-back, central midfielder, wide forward and striker.
Among the early names to have been touted as possible targets include Juventus kingpin Paul Pogba, Bayern Munich midfielder Thiago Alcantara, whom Guardiola took with him from Barca, and Schalke youngster Leroy Sane, a player the new City manager has already hailed as the rising star of German football.
Those City players whose futures are under most doubt include Bacary Sagna, Eliaquim Mangala, Martin Demichelis, Gael Clichy, Jesus Navas, Fernando, Samir Nasri, Wilfried Bony and Yaya Toure, sold to the Premier League club by Barcelona when Guardiola was manager.
In Joe Hart, Vincent Kompany, David Silva, Fernandinho, Raheem Sterling, Kevin de Bruyne and Sergio Aguero, Guardiola has a core of players around which to build a City team that can go on to be the dominant side at home and abroad.
The combination of City’s vast resource and the lure of working under Guardiola could be decisive in City’s attempts to attract some of the biggest talents in world football.