Pep Guardiola has informed Manchester City’s hierarchy that he would like to sign Arsenal’s Alexis Sánchez and Virgil van Dijk of Southampton, with both understood to have been identified as prime targets for the Premier League leaders.
City, who entertain Bournemouth on Saturday when they go in search of a 17th successive Premier League victory, are keen to strengthen in the January transfer window despite a record-breaking start to the season that has seen them establish a 11-point lead over second-placed Manchester United.
Having failed to agree a deal for Sánchez in the summer after Arsenal decided against cashing in on the Chile forward despite him entering the final year of his contract, a renewed approach next month appears likely despite Arsène Wenger reiterating his stance that the 29-year-old will not be allowed to leave the Emirates Stadium. City are willing to wait until the summer if necessary, however, with the club aware that introducing a new signing may potentially upset the balance of the current squad.
Van Dijk has been restored to the Southampton first team under Mauricio Pellegrino after having a transfer request rejected but he could be allowed to leave should they receive a suitable offer, likely to be in the region of £60m. However, City are unlikely to pursue him in the January window and view the former Celtic defender as a long-term replacement for Kompany.
Guardiola has also stipulated he would like to add another central midfielder to his squad as cover for Fernandinho, who is expected to hold talks over a new deal in the coming weeks, with the veteran Yaya Touré set to depart at the end of the season when his contract expires. Borussia Dortmund’s Julian Weigl is understood to be one of the names under consideration, although the 22-year-old Germany international has also been linked with Manchester United in recent weeks, with Barcelona also credited with an interest.
Kevin De Bruyne is also set to sign a new contract having starred for City this season, with a six-year contract worth around £210,000 per week believed to have been agreed with his agent, Patrick De Koster, last week. De Koster is on holiday until after Christmas but told the Guardian he expects the deal to be confirmed in the coming weeks.
Guardiola is also keen to retain the services of Sergio Agüero despite the potential arrival of Sánchez. The Argentina striker was left out of the side which beat United in the Manchester derby and showed his frustration when he was substituted in the 4-1 victory against Tottenham last Saturday. But with City still in contention to win an unprecedented quadruple of Premier League, FA Cup, League Cup and Champions League, he remains part of the manager’s plans.