Manchester City are targeting Borussia Dortmund wonderkid Erling Haaland and defensive midfielder Mikel Merino to bolster their options next season.
Pep Guardiola’s side have to remain on pace with Liverpool in the Premier League title race next season and will once again be keen to battle it out for the Champions League.
City currently remain in contention for both of those trophies, but have missed out on both the League Cup and FA Cup this season, meaning they’ll be looking to improve on that front and that means new arrivals.
It has already been reported Haaland is top of the priority list with Guardiola’s side still lacking a striker.
Manchester City are targeting Borussia Dortmund wonderkid Erling Haaland and defensive midfielder Mikel Merino to bolster their options next season
City’s pursuit of Haaland has taken a significant step forward, with the club agreeing terms with the player’s representatives.
Sportsmail understands that a suitable financial package – which would make Haaland the Premier League’s highest-paid player on more than £500,000 a week – has been given the nod.
City are now expected to trigger the 21-year-old striker’s £63million release clause at Borussia Dortmund and, if all goes according to plan, what is likely to be a five-year deal should be sealed in the next week or so.
Haaland, pictured as a child in a Man City shirt, is set to join the club for £63million
City are reportedly set to meet his £50million release clause of Real Sociedad midfielder Mikel Merino, as they look to replace Fernandinho, who has announced that he will leave City in the summer.
The Spaniard has played a key role in his side’s La Liga campaign, making 27 league appearances, where he has scored three goals and grabbed four assists.
According to El Confidencial, the 25-year-old is a ‘top target’ for Guardiola having impressed the City boss with his performances in Spain.
City are reportedly set to meet his £50million release clause of Real Sociedad’s Mikel Merino
With incomings, there will always be outgoings, and obviously we know Fernandinho is leaving but another linked to depart is striker Gabriel Jesus.
According to Marca, Barcelona are potentially looking to swoop in for the Brazilian striker.
Jesus signed for City in 2017 and has made 228 appearances for the club – during that time the Brazilian has scored 89 goals and added 45 assists.
Barcelona are potentially looking to swoop in for Brazilian striker Gabriel Jesus (pictured)
However, due to the strength in depth City boast in attacking quarters, including the likes of Riyad Mahrez, Jack Grealish, Raheem Sterling, Phil Foden and now potentially Haaland it could mean even less game time, baring in mind he has only played six times in 2022.
City are also reportedly in transfer talks with midfieler Enzo Fernandez as they look to form a young Argentine duo with his team-mate Julian Alvarez.
City have been negotiating with River Plate for some time, following the successful transfer of Argentina international forward Julian Alvarez in January, who is currently back in Argentina on loan.
But with all that in mind, how exactly could Manchester City line up next season?Sportsmail takes a look at a potential starting XI.
The Brazilian shot-stopper has been at City for five seasons and is vital to their success with his cool, calm and collected approach.
The 28-year-old is one of the best goalkeepers in the Premier League and remains in contract until the summer of 2025.
Ederson originally joined City back in 2017 for £35million from Benfica as they looked to fill a void with Claudio Bravo struggling.
Brazilian Ederson is expected to retain his place as Manchester City’s No 1 next season
Right-back: Kyle Walker
The England international is no doubt expected to start at right-back as he has been vital to City’s success since joining from Premier League rivals Tottenham in 2017.
The 31-year-old has won the Premier League three times, the League Cup four times, the FA Cup once and two English Super Cup’s since his arrival.
His pace is electric and he has made more than 230 appearances for City and even despite reinforcements being brought in over the years, he remains the first-choice.
Kyle Walker is no doubt expected to start at right-back as he has been vital to City’s success
Centre-back: Aymeric Laporte
The Spanish international arguably depends on his form, but he appears to be the second choice centre-back behind Ruben Dias as it stands, although he will have to stay ahead of the likes of John Stones and Nathan Ake.
The 27-year-old was an ever-present when he first arrived, but after an injury struggled to get back into the team, with Dias and Stones forming a strong partnership.
The former Atletico Bilbao defender is now back ahead of England international Stones in the pecking order, at least for now.
Aymeric Laporte is likely to start alongside Ruben Dias, unless he hits some bad form
Centre-back: Ruben Dias
Ruben Dias is a certain starter, he has been one of the best defenders in the Premier League since his arrival from Benfica in 2020.
The Portuguese centre-back was named in the team of the year and was also named Football Writers’ Association Footballer of the Year in his first season due to his instant impact.
Dias and Virgil Van Dijk are now pinned up as the best centre-backs in the league and arguably two of the best in the world at present.
Ruben Dias is a certain starter, he has been one of the best defenders in the Premier League
Left-back: Joao Cancelo
Much like Dias, Cancelo has been a stand-out since he arrived in Manchester, and is classed as one of the best if not the best left-back in the league.
The Portuguese full-back can operate on both sides and has been a top buy, costing them £60million from Juventus.
Despite being a defender, he is known for attacking ability, and has helped out with 9 assists in all competitions this season alone.
Joao Cancelo has been a stand-out performer at City and is the first-choice at left-back
Defensive midfielder: Mikel Merino
Merino could be joining City in the summer, therefore he would be expected to get the nod, as he replaces long-serving Fernandinho.
Although the reason for Fernandinho’s departure is the fact that he has lost his position to the in-form Rodri – therefore it will be a battle between Merino and Rodri who fill the defensive midfield position.
Merino once upon a time played for Newcastle United where he spent the 2017-18 season before leaving for Real Sociedad.
Potential new signing Merino (pictured, left) will have to battle it out with Rodri for the start
Centre midfielder: Kevin De Bruyne
Of course, Kevin De Bruyne will be in the starting line-up, he is a creative spark that can turn a game on its head.
The Belgium international has struggled with injury problems in recent seasons, but when he is fit he has to start.
The midfielder, who joined City in 2015, is fast becoming a club legend as he has been integral to a trophy-laden spell at the Etihad.
Kevin De Bruyne will be in the starting line-up, he is a creative spark that can turn a game
Centre midfielder: Bernardo Silva
The Portuguese midfielder was heavily linked with a move away from the Etihad last summer, but has proved his class, and played his way back into the first-team on a regular basis.
The 27-year-old has not always been a regular feature for the Citizens since joining from Monaco in 2017 but this campaign he has chipped in with 11 goals and five assists.
Much like everyone in the City squad, he will have to keep performing at that level to retain his place in the starting line-up.
Bernardo Silva has played his way back into the first-team with his superb displays this season
Right forward: Raheem Sterling
The England forward was falling out of favour at the start of the season and looks as though he could be heading for the exit door.
Sterling, however, has forced his way back ahead of Mahrez and Grealish by finding the back of the net 14 times and picking up a further seven assists.
The 27-year-old has been extremely reliable for City since joining from rivals Liverpool in 2015 and no matter how many attacking options have come into the club, he finds a way to remain in the team.
Raheem Sterling has forced his way back into the team after falling down the pecking order
Centre forward: Erling Haaland
City missed out on Harry Kane last summer when looking to bolster their options up front and instead spent £100million on Jack Grealish, but the England star hasn’t produced the goals needed.
It is expected that they will now go after a known striker rather than another attacking option with Haaland currently one of the best goalscorers in the world.
Freescoring Haaland has scored 56 league goals in 54 starts since he joined Dortmund from Salzburg in 2020.
He has also scored 15 goals in 17 appearances for his country.
Erling Haaland could solve Manchester City’s options up front with a lack of strikers
Left forward: Phil Foden
The England international has proved once again this season that he should be playing above the likes of Riyad Mahrez and even £100m signing Jack Grealish on the left side.
The 21-year-old has produced 11 goals and 9 assists in all competitions this season and continues to improve under Guardiola.
He still face fierce competition from Mahrez, Grealish, Sterling and even Silva being utilised in a further forward role for a place in the team.
Phil Foden has produced 11 goals and 9 assists in all competitions for City this campaign
…and looks who makes the star-studded bench
The bench is expected to be filled with stars such as Zack Steffen, John Stones, Oleksandr Zinchenko, Rodri, Ilkay Gundogan, Jack Grealish, Riyad Mahrez – providing Gabriel Jesus does leave the club, if not the striker will be another viable option.
How Manchester City could line-up next season with the additions of Haaland and Merino