Men's Team

We are glad Akanji is here, says Guardiola

Pep Guardiola says City had to enter the transfer market for Manuel Akanji to get through the intensive schedule before the winter World Cup.

City will play 17 matches between now and the middle of November across the Premier League, Champions League and Carabao Cup.

Akanji, a 27-year-old Swiss international, joined the Club from Borussia Dortmund on Thursday adding another option at centre-back.

With Aymeric Laporte and Nathan Ake unavailable through injury, Ruben Dias and John Stones were the only senior centre-backs fit to face Nottingham Forest on Wednesday.

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Speaking in his usual pre-match press conference ahead of Saturday’s trip to Aston Villa, Guardiola outlined his reasons for signing for Akanji.

“We had an incredible four central defenders before Manuel,” he said.

“Aymer [Laporte] has a tough injury and is still a month, month and a half away, and Nathan still has muscular problems. So we could not face this busy schedule with just two central defenders.

“We had a chance to bring someone with one year left on his deal. He is fast, really good in the build-up. We saw this when we faced Dortmund three seasons ago. We are glad he is here.”

Thursday was the final day of a summer transfer window that has seen six players arrive at City.

Several players have also left the Club, including four Elite Development Squad members to Southampton.

Gavin Bazunu, Sam Edozie, Juan Larios and Romeo Lavia have all made the move to St. Mary’s, where our former Head of Academy Recruitment Joe Shields is now Head of Senior Recruitment.

Asked his opinion on the moves, Guardiola said: “All of them are fantastic players. Southampton bought really good players.

“The people in our academy should be so proud. The other point is we rely on them a lot but they have offers and in this world, patience does not exist.

“At the EDS the competition is light and this is the Premier League. After agreement of the club, and we have buy back in case they explode and we have the chance to get them back.

“It is a good compliment for us, the academy and the club that we educate them and bring them to the Premier League and Southampton is a top club. The guy working there was working here and we wish them all the best.”