Thursday 19 September 2019

City eye Ndombele as De Bruyne ruled out

Tanguy Ndombele: On City’s radar. Photo: Getty Images
Tanguy Ndombele: On City’s radar. Photo: Getty Images

James Ducker

Manchester City are considering a £40 million move for Tanguy Ndombele, the highly-rated young Lyon and France midfielder, in the January transfer window.

Pep Guardiola wants a midfielder to provide competition for Fernandinho in the short term and to be the Brazilian's long-term replacement. Ndombele has been identified as a possible solution.

City tried and failed to sign Jorginho in the summer, the Italy midfielder opting to join Chelsea instead, and Guardiola's concern about the impact an injury to Fernandinho could have on their season was reinforced yesterday after he lost Kevin De Bruyne to another knee ligament injury.

City confirmed yesterday that De Bruyne would be out for up to six weeks after his left knee was damaged when Fulham defender Timothy Fosu-Mensah landed on him in City's 2-0 Carabao Cup win on Thursday night.

It could rule the Belgium midfielder out for 10 matches. He will miss tomorrow's visit of Southampton and the derby against Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium a week later, and is likely to miss the club's remaining three Champions League group matches and the December trip to face title rivals Chelsea.

The Fulham game was De Bruyne's first domestic start of the campaign after he missed two months with a ligament injury to his right knee sustained in August.

He will go to Barcelona to see Dr Ramon Cugat for assessment and rehabilitation work. City have ruled out surgery.

"We are a stronger team with Kevin than without him, but we have to live without him and be there when he comes back," said Guardiola. "I was so sad. The other injury was more dangerous than this.

"It will help in the last part (of the season) that he'll be fresh in to help us reach our targets."

City have watched Ndombele closely, and the 21-year-old impressed against the Premier League champions in Lyon's shock 2-1 Champions League win at the Etihad in September.

Paris Saint-Germain are also interested, but it is thought Jean-Michel Aulas would prefer to sell him abroad.

Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea have also been linked with the player, who has been likened to former Lyon and Chelsea midfielder Michael Essien.

Like Fernandinho, Ndombele offers a physicality, aggression and athleticism Guardiola considers vital, as well as good positional sense, distribution of the ball and overall game intelligence. City could offer Ukraine midfielder Oleksandr Zinchenko as a makeweight should they decide to move for Ndombele. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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