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Pep Guardiola’s transfer plans prove Thomas Tuchel will forever be in the Man City boss’ shadow – Ross Jackson

Managers often try to tell us that the January transfer window offers them a chance to freshen up their squad in a bid to safely secure their season’s goals.

While that’s all very nice and sweet, it’s also a euphemism for “look how much we messed up in the summer transfer window”.

Pep Guardiola is readying his Manchester City side to welcome Chelsea to the Etihad Stadium on Saturday in what promises to be a titanic battle between two of the Premier League’s heavyweights.

A win for City will most likely serve as a knockout blow to the visitors’ title dreams, but Thomas Tuchel has far more on his mind right now than just ensuring his team’s title tilt isn’t toppled just a few weeks into the new year.

One of the reasons Chelsea find themselves 10 points adrift of City heading into Saturday’s clash is their wretched injury list.

Ben Chilwell is expected to miss the remainder of the season having undergone surgery on a knee injury picked up against Juventus in November.

Clearly not convinced by Marcos Alonso’s ability to step into the void left by the England international, Tuchel now finds himself desperately attempting to engineer a move for a new left-back in the mid-season market.

Lucas Digne was heavily linked with a Stamford Bridge switch prior to his move to Aston Villa, Barcelona’s Sergino Dest is also apparently of interest and the club are reportedly considering paying Lyon to terminate Emerson’s loan in a bid to ease their wing-back woes.

Paying a club to let you have your own player back hardly feels like business worthy of European champions.

Guardiola and Tuchel meet again on Saturday

Not only is Guardiola never likely to find himself trying to buy his own player in January, the City boss isn’t particularly accustomed to buying any club’s player in January.

City fans have tended not to get engrossed in the glorious stupidity that is January transfer talk since Pep arrived in 2016 because, to put it bluntly, he doesn’t really bother with winter signings.

Since Guardiola was appointed over five-and-a-half years ago, Aymeric Laporte is the only real signing of note to have been made by City midway through the season, with Gabriel Jesus’ January 2017 arrival rubber-stamped the previous summer.

And his lack of January business isn’t limited to his time in the Premier League. Even at Barcelona and Bayern Munich, he was rarely active in the mid-season market.

Guardiola’s obsession with rhythm and momentum is perhaps one reason why he’s so keen not to risk disrupting the balance of his squad once the season has kicked off, but there’s also possibly an element of him having total faith in his own genius.

The City boss is the king of reinvention. You’d struggle to find a single player in the City squad – centre-backs and goalkeepers aside – who hasn’t been played in a role that you wouldn’t consider their preferred position. And, as we all know, Ederson would love to play in midfield given half the chance.

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While Tuchel knocks on the door of every elite club in Europe asking for a left-back, the man currently occupying City’s left-back spot had barely even played there before his move to the Etihad, yet he’s now widely considered one of the best in the world at his craft.

Guardiola knows he has the tactical nous to overcome any such crisis, and if Joao Cancelo were to get injured he’d be able to call upon Oleksandr Zinchenko – you know the guy, used to be an attacking midfielder.

Being adept at spotting talent is often considered as one of the key qualities needed to become a top manager. But the fact is, getting the most out of the players already at your disposal negates the need for such a quality.

Just like you, we can’t get enough of Manchester City! That’s why we’ve decided to supplement our expansive City coverage on the Manchester Evening News with a more fan-oriented platform catered specifically to City fans – City Is Ours.

Writers and presenters who share your passion for the blue side of Manchester will be producing written, visual and audio content to reflect the mood in the stands as well as the press box.

Follow our team on Twitter (@DomFarrell1986 and @alex_brotherton)!

It’s not lost on me that Guardiola isn’t exactly shy when it comes to flexing his employer’s financial muscle in the market, but his ability to hone the tools available to him once the summer market is closed is just one of the reasons he’ll always be streets ahead of those some consider to be his equals.

Do you think Guardiola is a better manager than Tuchel? Follow City Is Ours content editor Ross Jackson on Twitter to get involved in the discussion and give us your thoughts in the comments section below.



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