Pep Guardiola has to replace his full-backs at Manchester City

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With the arrival of world renowned manager Pep Guardiola at Manchester City, the club is hoping to stamp its authority on the Premier League and Europe, and announce itself as a superpower.

Guardiola is the man to do it, having huge success at both Barcelona and Bayern Munich in recent years.

The squad at the City is beginning to age, with first team staples like Yaya Toure and Vincent Kompany feeling the effects of long careers. It means that an overhaul this summer is likely, with Ilkay Gundogan and Nolito already added to the ranks, and Leroy Sane heavily linked with a transfer.


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One position that the new manager should look to strengthen is at full-back. On the face of it, both right-back and left-back seem quite strong, with experienced and talented players like Pablo Zabaleta, Bacary Sagna, and Aleksandar Kolarov.

However, all these players share a trait which may make them surplus to Guardiola's plans. They lack pace, simple as that.

A massive part of the Guardiola style of play is the use of full-backs in attacking positions. The full-backs in his system push forwards until the point where they are almost wingers, giving the team more men to overwhelm the opponents with.

The pace of these players can be vital, making darting runs to find the space necessary to unlock defences.

It is clearly something that works, with Dani Alves perfectly demonstrating this point at Barcelona. In the 2010/11 season, Alves notched 15 assists, and incredible total from a defender, which shows just how important to the style pace is.

At Bayern Munich, Guardiola had David Alaba to rely for speed at left-back. Right-back was a different story, with the slower Philipp Lahm taking the role. Lahm may not have the speed associated with the manager's style of play, but what he lacks in speed, he makes up for, not only in defensive capabilities, but also general technical ability.

At times in is career, Lahm has been played as a holding midfielder, showing how competent he is on the ball, a trait all Guardiola players must have. Pace was an issue, but his class as a player meant he could function in the system.

City have no such players. Zabaleta, Sagna and Kolarov are all decent defenders, but none of them have enough pace, or the sheer technical ability to be effective in the new team. It is sad to say, but it is very unlikely for them to see much of the action next season.

What of Gael Clichy? He certainly has pace to burn, which means Guardiola will give him a chance to prove himself.

The defender is going to have to add a level of cool and intelligence to his game if he hopes to make it in the starting lineup next season.

However, in all likeliness, the manager will add another full-back to the ranks of City, so don't be surprised if they are linked with several different players.

Where should Pep Guardiola be strengthening at Manchester City? Let us know YOUR thoughts in the comment section below!

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Vincent Kompany
Premier League
Gnegneri Toure Yaya
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