Sergio Gómez will be Manchester City’s final signing of the summer, unless someone leaves, according to Pep Guardiola. The Spanish full-back is close to sealing a €10m (£8.5m) move from Anderlecht.
City began the season without an orthodox senior left-back in the squad, starting João Cancelo, who has played there regularly since arriving at City, against West Ham in their opening fixture, with teenage full-backs Joshua Wilson-Ebrand and Rico Lewis on the bench. Gómez will not sign in time to face Bournemouth on Saturday, meaning Cancelo is likely to retain his place.
Kalvin Philips is unavailable through injury and Cole Palmer is a doubt for the match against Bournemouth. If Palmer misses out, Guardiola claims it will leave him with 14 fit first-team outfield players for the champions’ first home game of the season. The Spaniard insists he has faith in those available. “No, I’m very very pleased with the team – not [big] in terms of numbers but there is incredible versatility and they all have huge quality – even the young academy lads,” Guardiola said. “The quality is there, they just have to push each other to the next step this season. If nobody moves, I think nobody’s coming in.”
Advice was sought from the former Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany about Gómez, who played under the Belgian at Anderlecht last season. The Spain Under-21 international will provide versatility in the squad because he can play in a number of positions. “He was a No 10, like Alex Zinchenko, now he’s adapted in that position. When that happens, [Johan] Cruyff told me all the time that when a winger can play at left-back they will be the best left back. When a holding midfielder can play as a central defender, they will be the best central defender.
“I like when players come here that it’s a dream because they give everything for us. He’s so young, open to learn. I spoke with Vinny about him. He has to improve in some departments, that’s why he’s 21 and he’s going to improve. But he’s perfect for what he need.”
Guardiola reiterated his desire to keep Bernardo Silva at the club despite rumoured interest in the midfielder from Barcelona. “One hundred and ten per cent I want him to stay. I love him,” Guardiola said. “I go weak when I talk about him. He is a special person. I don’t know what is going to happen but he knows how much we like him and want him and love him.”
After Erling Haaland’s impressive double on his Premier League debut, Guardiola hopes the striker can go on to become a City icon. “Tomorrow [against Bournemouth] will be a new challenge and he’s aged 22 with a long career ahead of him and if he has desire to be better he will continue to improve,” said the manager. “I will encourage him to be a better player, a better finisher and [he has to] think today I will be better than yesterday, try to train today better than yesterday. When this happens he has the skills to be one of the best of best top scorers of all time.”