Pep Guardiola has admitted Manchester City need to rebuild this summer if they are to wrest back the Premier League title from Liverpool, but he ruled out the possibility of Jadon Sancho returning.
City are due to form a guard of honour tonight when Liverpool visit the Etihad Stadium for their first game since dethroning Guardiola's side as champions.
With midfielder David Silva set to depart at the end of the season after a decade at the club, 12 months after captain Vincent Kompany's departure, winger Leroy Sane joining Bayern Munich for £55 million (€60m) and Sergio Aguero, 32, and Fernandinho, 35, in the final year of their contracts, Guardiola has conceded that his squad need regenerating.
City can still add the FA Cup and Champions League to the Carabao Cup they won in March but, having seen his team fall 23 points behind Liverpool following back-to-back title wins and with an ageing squad profile, Guardiola is targeting reinforcements.
Complicated The situation is complicated by the financial uncertainty caused by the Covid-19 crisis, and the club still awaiting the outcome of their Court of Arbitration for Sport appeal against a two-season European ban by Uefa, but Guardiola was originally aiming for between three and five new signings.
"Yeah, in some (ways) . . . not for the lack of quality (in the squad) but for the absence of Vinny, David - Dinho (Fernandinho) and Sergio have one year left but I don't know if they will extend or not," the manager said when asked if rebuilding would be necessary.
"Some players have to be replaced. But it's not a disaster thing, or bad thing, it's part of football for the age (of the squad), for the normal situation and circumstances."
Guardiola has ruled out a move for Sancho, who left the club for Borussia Dortmund in an £8m deal in 2017. City's rivals, Manchester United, have an interest in Sancho but not at Dortmund's £115m price tag. (© Daily Telegraph, London)