Vincent Kompany was left out of Manchester City’s Champions League nightmare against Monaco despite being fully fit. The captain is now braced to be one of the highest profile casualties of the club’s most expensive summer overhaul since Abu Dhabi’s takeover nine years ago.
Kompany has been fit for the past three weeks but, even though he travelled to Monaco, the Belgium centre-half was omitted from Pep Guardiola’s 18-man squad and watched on as more defensive disarray caused City to blow a two-goal first-leg advantage to lose 3-1 and crash out on away goals after a 6-6 aggregate scoreline.
Telegraph Sport reported in October how Guardiola was phasing out Kompany amid concerns about his quality on the ball in addition to his long-standing injury problems and the captain’s snub against Monaco, despite City’s glaring need for a defensive leader, marks another step towards the exit door at the Etihad Stadium.
Well-placed sources at City were shocked by Kompany’s omission, with Aleksandar Kolarov, again deployed as a makeshift centre-back, at fault for Monaco’s decisive third goal. But Guardiola – who has failed to deliver the progress the City’s hierarchy expected after they publicly derided results under Manuel Pellegrini last term – has been given the green light to rip up the squad during the close season, when the club’s gross spending could surpass the record £172.8 million outlay he made last summer.
Guardiola signed nine players last summer, three of whom were sent out on loan, and another period of substantial churn awaits with the Catalan hoping to recruit up to seven new players, while there are doubts over the futures of as many as 19 of his existing squad. As well as a new centre-half to replace Kompany and possibly another central defender, Guardiola wants two full-backs, a goalkeeper, midfielder and forward.
Gaël Clichy, one of seven players who are out of contract at the end of the season, believes changes are inevitable. “What’s going to happen in three months is up to the chairman [Khaldoon al-Mubarak], the boss and the club will carry on in his [Guardiola’s] way,” the City left-back said. “Of course there are going to be some new faces.”
In addition to Clichy, Yaya Touré, Pablo Zabaleta, Bacary Sagna, Jesus Navas, Willy Caballero and Tosin Adarabioyo are all out of contract in June. Touré and Caballero would appear to have the best chance of netting new deals. City will seek buyers for Joe Hart, Samir Nasri, Eliaquim Mangala, Wilfried Bony and Jason Denayer, all of whom are out on loan and surplus to requirements.
Fernando and Kolarov enter the final 12 months of their contracts in the summer and could leave and there are doubts over Fabian Delph and Kelechi Iheanacho, although that pair could survive any exodus given how they boost the home-grown quota numbers.
Sergio Agüero, the Argentina striker, has said he will sit down to discuss his future in June. Guardiola also has a big decision to make over Claudio Bravo, the goalkeeper he signed to replace Hart last summer but who has since been dropped for Caballero.
Guardiola wants two new full-backs, with interest in the Tottenham pair of Kyle Walker and Danny Rose, Southampton’s Ryan Bertrand and Joshua Kimmich, although Bayern Munich insist they will not sell the Germany youngster.
City have held talks with representatives of Fabinho, Monaco’s highly regarded 23-year-old Brazilian who is comfortable at right-back or in central midfield, and are keeping tabs on Alexis Sánchez, the unsettled Arsenal forward.