Danny Rose, Kyle Walker and Dele Alli – who have all been described by Guardiola as “very top players” – top the club’s shopping list, with their manager eager to add English talent to a squad containing just three senior domestic players.
Guardiola is thought to have told the club’s director of football, Txiki Begiristain, that he wants to prioritise English talent, although both men are well aware they will have to pay a premium for domestic players.
The Manchester Evening News report that City will test Tottenham’s resolve by bidding for up to three of their players this summer, with Rose and Walker considered to be more realistic targets than the prohibitively expensive Alli.
The club are thought to be willing to pay in excess of £40m for Rose, 26, although Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy would likely demand an even higher fee for a player that has been at the club since 2007.
Walker is another player under consideration, with City struggling down the flanks this season. However, the full-back ruled out a move to Manchester United earlier in the season by insisting he was “Tottenham until I die” in a live Q&A session on Instagram and appears happy at White Hart Lane.
— Spurs In The Blood (@SpursInTheBlood) January 22, 2017
Alli is the most desirable of the three players but is also the most expensive, with Tottenham likely to demand a world-record fee for an English player for the 20-year-old.
Guardiola has shown that he is not averse to paying high fees to talented young English players, having spent £47.5m on Everton defender John Stones shortly after arriving at the club.
And Guardiola commented ahead of City’s crunch game against Arsenal that he believes English football currently has a crop of younger players who could rival the golden generation that produced the likes of Frank Lampard, Paul Scholes and Rio Ferdinand.
“From my experience in Spain and Germany and now here, you cannot imagine how good the young players here are,” he said.
“Like I could not imagine the generation of Lampard, Carrick, Scholes, Terry, Gerrard, Ferdinand, they had the talent to do something more.
“As a spectator, I don’t understand. For example, compare it with Spain who always talk about the generation of Xavi, Iniesta, Xabi Alonso, (Sergio) Busquets.
“Those English players are of the same level. So you ask yourself, why not? Walker, Rose, Alli, (Eric) Dier, John Stones, Raheem, they are top.
“The quality is there and they have the quality at U19 and U21 too. The talent is there, I have no doubts about that. They need to make that step.”