Five Right-Backs To Replace Pablo Zabaleta At Manchester City

Long-serving Manchester City defender, Pablo Zabaleta, recently announced he would leave the club after spending seven years with the Citizens.

The Argentine became a City legend following his move from Espanyol – making over 300 appearances and lifting two Premier League trophies with the club.

The 32-year-old looks set to join West Ham when his contract expires at the Etihad Stadium and Bacary Sagna is also expecting to leave the club leaving a void for Pep Guardiola to fill at right-back.

We take a look at five options that Guardiola could target in the summer transfer window…

KYLE WALKER – TOTTENHAM

The Spaniard has reportedly placed Tottenham’s Kyle Walker at the top of his summer wishlist.

The 26-year-old is in demand after playing a huge role in Spur’s title challenge with Manchester United, Chelsea and Bayern Munich reportedly keeping tabs on his situation.

According to the Telegraph, City are confident of luring Walker to the Etihad Stadium following talks with Mauricio Pochettino regarding his future with the club capable of significantly increasing his £70,000-per-week wages.

An Instagram post by the England international which seemingly thanked the Tottenham Hotspur fans also casts major doubts over his future with the Lilywhites.

Walker still has his best years ahead of him, but Daniel Levy will hold out for a fee over £40m for a player that would also improve City’s homegrown player quota.

It is believed that Levy would prefer Walker to be sold abroad but would struggle to turn down a huge offer if City came knocking.

ALESSANDRO FLORENZI – ROMA

Arguably one of the world’s best right-backs, Alessandro Florenzi should be another option that City should explore in the summer transfer window.

Capable of playing at right-wing or centre midfield, Florenzi would be a versatile choice – something which Guardiola prefers having used David Alaba in various positions at Bayern Munich.

The former Barcelona manager also prefers his full-backs to contribute to the attack and link up play to the midfield which Florenzi would excel at due to his familiarity with the midfield role.

The Italian has missed the majority of the season after rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament in October, making just nine appearances in the Serie A, and has just two years left on his contract in Rome.

City might be able to drive the Italian club’s asking price down based on his recent lack of game time and contract length meaning Florenzi could prove cheaper than other options available to the Citizens.

FABINHO – AS MONACO

Like Florenzi, Monaco’s Fabinho is a capable performer at right-back or central midfield meaning he is the perfect addition to Guardiola’s squad.

Monaco were recently crowned Ligue 1 champions, and Fabinho enjoyed a stellar season during their title triumph.

The Brazilian scored ten goals and registered four assists for the French champions, performances which has seen him attract the attention of both Manchester clubs and Juventus.

Although he is under contract with Monaco until 2021, he admitted to Telefoot that he had held talks with three English clubs and also conceded that City would be his preference.

He said: “We have talked to Manchester City, Manchester United, Arsenal, we have even been approached by Barcelona, but it didn’t go any further. We like Manchester United and the work of [Jose] Mourinho, but we have a little soft spot for City.”

It is believed the 23-year-old would cost the Citizens around £30m. Reports have suggested that his Monaco team-mate, Bernardo Silva, will make a £70m move to Etihad Stadium after traveling to Manchester for a medical.

This could boost City’s chances of completing a deal for Fabinho.

SERGE AURIER – PARIS ST GERMAIN

If Guardiola is looking for an out-and-out right-back, Serge Aurier could be the man he targets to replace Zabaleta.

The 23-year-old has developed into a fine defender at Paris St Germain and is capable of playing an advanced wing-back role.

He has bags of pace and is incredibly powerful – making him a real asset when he joins the attack. Aurier has also featured in midfield in his youth career and also played at centre-back; a tactic which Guardiola has employed at both City and Bayern Munich.

Manchester United have been linked with the Ivorian in the past, but Antonio Valencia’s performances has seemingly ended their interest.

The only issue with Aurier seems to be his attitude. He has a reputation as a troublemaker after publicly blasting former manager Laurent Blanc on social media.

If Guardiola manages to keep him in check, he could prove to be a vital signing.

PABLO MAFFEO – MANCHESTER CITY

One man who could potentially save the club some money this summer is Pablo Maffeo.

The Spaniard made a move to Manchester from Espanyol in 2013 and impressed following a loan spell with Girona last year.

Maffeo made his competitive debut in the Champions League play-off victory over Steaua Bucharest and also started against Manchester United in the EFL Cup where he was one of the top performers.

Having Zabaleta and Sagna at the club hindered his progress to the first-team, but the youngster could now be ready for increased game time.

Guardiola has a reputation of bringing youngsters through the starting eleven and Maffeo could be the next to add his name to a long list of players to flourish under the ex-Barca manager.

The 19-year-old is quick, agile and is a more defensive-minded full back than other options on this list.

Maybe next season will be too soon, but expect to see Maffeo in City colours sooner rather than later.

Who do you think Manchester City should sign? Leave your comment down below!

Follow me on Twitter – @MarcusBanks7 – Visit my blog The Beautiful Game for more

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