Man City’s three dream deadline day signings that would not cost a penny in transfer fees – Dominic Farrell

As Liverpool get involved in a last-minute trolley dash, Manchester United endure unwelcome stasis, and Antonio Conte sets about losing his hair all over again, the January transfer window feels pretty good from a Manchester City perspective.

City and River Plate should soon be done crossing the t’s and accenting the i’s on a deal to bring Argentina forward Julian Alvarez to Manchester, but that’s something to enjoy a few months down the line.

The Premier League champions have been able to plan for the future during this transfer window because the present looks so rosy.

Indeed, if we were to pick three dream signings to make this deadline day, they would concern people already on City’s books.

confused? Allow us to explain.

James McAtee

If any City player is to draw substantial and sustained intrigue this deadline day, it will be McAtee.

The 19-year-old midfield has made the first-team breakthrough this season and is enjoying a spectacular campaign at EDS level.

McAtee is the top scorer in Premier League 2 with 14 goals – a haul that was turbocharged at the start of the season with back-to-back hat-tricks against Blackburn Rovers and Manchester United. He also claimed the match ball in a crazy 5-3 defeat to Club Brugge in the UEFA Youth League.

But McAtee’s prominence for the second string is in part down to Cole Palmer featuring with greater regularity for the seniors. That’s something the Salford-born playmaker desires, and Rangers head a queue of clubs keen to take him on loan.

Pep Guardiola would prefer McAtee to take the Phil Foden route and continue to learn by training every day with the first-team. Either way, a resolution and an extended contract beyond 2023 feels like a must for a sensational talent – especially with purported interest from Liverpool lurking in the background.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 21: James McAtee of Manchester City battles for possession with Seamus Coleman of Everton during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Everton at Etihad Stadium on November 21, 2021 in Manchester, England.
James McAtee looked instantly at home on his Premier League debut.

Raheem Sterling

There was a time when Sterling looked like a prime candidate for a January move away from City.

But Barcelona successfully turned their attentions towards Ferran Torres, and Raheem hit a purple patch in front of goal.

The England forward now feels like he is back to somewhere close to his 2017-2019 best, assuming a fairly howling performance at Southampton last time out was a blip on an upward trajectory.

Fellow forwards Gabriel Jesus and Riyad Mahrez also have less than 18 months to run on their contracts, but it now feels like there is greater urgency around a rejuvenated Sterling.

Let’s not expect anyone to put pen to paper on deadline day, but ESPN reported over the weekend that talks are set to resume between the club and the player before he enters the final year of his deal in June.

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Pep Guardiola

Of all the City contracts that end in June 2023, this is the big one.

When Guardiola arrived at the Etihad Stadium in 2016, he had never spent more than four years at a single club.

We’re already into unchartered territory, but why on earth would we not want the most successful era in City history to go on and on with the main man at the helm?

In strictly relative terms, Guardiola is a more laid back figure than he was at Barcelona and Bayern Munich and has his perfect working environment at the City Football Academy.

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What’s more, it feels like this new iteration of his team is only just taking flight. Last season’s third Premier League title in four seasons might come to be regarded as a campaign of transition. Now, Pep’s City Mk II is truly taking flight.

If his previous renewals are anything to go by, Guardiola’s next move on his future will probably meander on a little longer before a decision one way or the other comes out of nowhere.

But if we had to pick anyone for Txiki Begiristain to be posing with his arm around while pretending to sign a piece of paper for the camera this deadline day, it would be his old mate Pep.

Whose new contract do you think is the most pressing concern at Man City? Follow City Is Ours editor Dom Farrell on Twitter to get involved in the discussion and give us your thoughts in the comments section below.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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