Man City Keep or Dump: Time to move on De Bruyne, Silva?

Manchester City are in a very strong position, both financially and with their playing squad. That said, there are always improvements and tweaks to be made, and recent history shows us they’re quite disciplined when it comes to wages and contract lengths.

Kevin De Bruyne‘s extension, for example, was for just two seasons — though it will take him through to the age of 34. Pep Guardiola has made it clear he’s not going to force players to stay (or, if they leave it will be on the club’s terms) and the transfers of Raheem Sterling, Oleksandr Zinchenko and Gabriel Jesus show City practice what they preach. The trio were on contracts that were winding down, all of them had been key contributors, and they were moved on.

Two factors are bubbling in the background. Both are important, but neither will necessarily inform City’s summer moves, simply because they’re imponderable at the moment.

One is Guardiola’s contract, which expires in 13 months. After eight seasons and so much success, he pretty much has the political and sporting capital to do what he wants. It’s fairly evident he can stay as long as he likes and equally, if he suddenly wants to quit, the club won’t hold it against him (provided he offers enough advance warning, which you presume he will.) Guardiola has, though, hinted that next season could be his last.

The other is the 115 charges for alleged financial irregularity that the Premier League filed against City in February 2023. These could result in massive fines, trophies being stripped, potentially relegation and would have an enormous effect. However, at this juncture, neither we nor City have any clue which way the hearing will go (heck, no date has been made public, though we expect it will be in the autumn of 2024.)

Therefore, City have to operate on the assumption that they will be found not guilty (or at least not face significant sanction.) Just as they have to operate as though Guardiola will stay in the medium term.

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Editor’s note: This is the first in this year’s series Keep or Dump over the coming weeks on which players to keep, extend and move on from for all the top clubs in the Premier League and Europe.


KEEP/DUMP GROUND RULES

Remember: This is our assessment of what we think the club should do, player for player, with the squad at their disposal. It’s not what we think they will actually do, though sometimes the two will align. That said, we take into account what we know of the club, coaching staff and player preferences, as well as their financial situation and any other factors that we think will impact personnel moves.

Where we disagree, or where we think our rationale is worth explaining, we’ve noted below.


GOALKEEPERS

Éderson (30 years old, contract expires in 2026)

Marcotti: He’s one of the best in the world and he fits the system very well. In the next six months, you expect to sort out a new deal for him.

Verdict: Keep and extend his contract

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Nedum Onuoha breaks down Manchester City’s FA cup final performance and pinpoints what went wrong for Pep Guardiola’s team.

Stefan Ortega (31, 2025)

Ogden: He wants to play regularly and he’s not going to do that as long as Éderson is around. And if they were going to keep him, they would have extended his contract. With a year left, you can get a fee for him, maybe £5-8 million, maybe a bit more.

Marcotti: He has been good when he has played and he has played more than most backups, with over 30 appearances over the past two seasons. But I agree, he’s older than Éderson so he won’t be his long-term replacement. Best to move on and groom a long-term successor.

Verdict: Move on

Scott Carson (38, 2025)

Marcotti: He has been there five years now and has made two appearances; he’s basically an extra goalkeeping coach. He was happy with that role — Guardiola, too — so there was no reason not to continue.

Verdict: Signed a new one-year deal on May 23

DEFENDERS

Rúben Dias (26 years old, contract expires in 2027)

Verdict: Keep

Josko Gvardiol (22, 2028)

Verdict: Keep

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‘Forever?!’ – Guardiola swerves question on his Man City future

Pep Guardiola avoids answering a question about his long-term future at Manchester City.

Manuel Akanji (28, 2027)

Verdict: Keep

Nathan Aké (29, 2027)

Ogden: He’s older now, and he’s probably not in their first-choice back four. There’s a market for him out there — if you can get the right price, say £30m or more, it makes sense to move him on and maybe bring in somebody younger.

Marcotti: I get the point, everyone in this defence other than Dias and Gvardiol is 28 or older, so you want to think of the future. But he still played an important role in terms of minutes on the pitch over the past two seasons. And given he has three years remaining on City wages, I’m not sure how much you can get for him.

Verdict: Split between keep and move on

John Stones (30, 2026)

Ogden: Great player, but he has had lots of injuries and missed a ton of games. Two years left is plenty for him to prove his fitness, so there’s no need to extend right now.

Verdict: Keep, but do not extend

Sergio Gómez (23, 2026)

Ogden: He could grow into a regular, so use the next six months to decide what you want to do before extending his deal. You can always look to shift him in January.

Verdict: Keep

Rico Lewis (19, 2028)

Verdict: Keep

Kyle Walker (34, 2026)

Verdict: Keep

Taylor Harwood-Bellis (22, 2025, on loan at Southampton)

Ogden: They don’t really have a choice as his loan to Southampton included an obligation to make the move permanent for £20m if they secured promotion to the Premier League. Having done that by beating Leeds on Sunday, he’s gone.

Verdict: Moving on

João Cancelo (29, 2027, on loan at Barcelona)

Marcotti: His extension will go down as one of the few stains on the club’s personnel moves in the past few years. I’m not sure how he can come back, so you need to find a home for him on loan. I think it will take time for Barcelona to decide if they want to keep him and even then, City will have to cover some of his wages, most likely. It’s those wages — plus the fact that he came up short on loan at Bayern — that make him difficult to shift on a permanent basis.

Verdict: Loan, and eventually move on

Yan Couto (21, 2025, on loan at Girona)

Ogden: He has been on loan for four seasons now and shown he can contribute. Give him a new deal and a chance to compete at right-back.

Marcotti: He proved himself at Girona, but he’s still very young and, given his size, I’m not sure he’s ready to contribute at City straight away. I’d extend him and then look to loan him out, possibly back to Girona.

Verdict: Split between keep and extend his contract/loan out again, and extend his contract

Issa Kaboré (23, 2025, on loan at Luton Town)

Marcotti: I think he did well for Luton in tricky circumstances and proved he can be a Premier League player, just probably not for City. Best to shift him this summer. He’s only 23, you’ll get some money, maybe £5-8m.

Verdict: Move on

MIDFIELDERS

Rodri (27 years old, contract expires in 2027)

Verdict: Keep

Matheus Nunes (25, 2028)

Verdict: Keep

Mateo Kovacic (30, 2027)

Verdict: Keep

Bernardo Silva (29, 2026)

Ogden: He wants to go and won’t sign a new deal, but nobody can afford him. Best to stay put and listen to offers and if he stays, it’s not an issue because you know he’ll contribute.

Marcotti: It’s a weird one; he has been there for seven years and turns 30 this summer — nobody would begrudge him if he wanted to experience something new elsewhere. But equally, with two years to go, he doesn’t have much leverage and City can, rightly, demand a big transfer fee. He’d have to force a move, which would be a pretty extraordinary step.

Verdict: Keep, but listen to offers and do not extend his contract

Kevin De Bruyne (32, 2025)

Ogden: This is like the Riyad Mahrez situation, who left for Al Ahli last summer. He was an important player, they got a big offer and he went. For the right price, and if De Bruyne wants to move on, it’s better to let him go. With his injuries, you’re not going to want to give him a new deal when he will be 34 when his one runs out.

Verdict: Keep, but listen to offers

Kalvin Phillips (28, 2028, on loan at West Ham United)

Ogden: If you can find a club willing to take him, let him go, even if it means subsidising his wages. He’s going to be very tough to shift for a transfer fee given his performances and the fact that he started just five league games in the past two seasons.

Verdict: Loan, and eventually move on

James McAtee (21, 2026, on loan at Sheffield United)

Ogden: He’s a technically gifted midfielder who might yet develop, but not at City. I don’t think you run the risk of him turning into another Cole Palmer if you move him on and you can get a fee in the £10m range for him.

Verdict: Move on

Claudio Echeverri (18, 2028, on loan at River Plate)

Marcotti: They spent some £12.5m on him in January and left him on loan at River, where he started a bunch of games. Even though work permit rules have been relaxed in England so City could register him if they wanted to, it’s probably best to loan him out. The question is whether to let him develop at River a little bit longer or perhaps move him somewhere else in Europe, like Girona.

Verdict: Loan out

Máximo Perrone (21, 2028, on loan at Las Palmas)

Marcotti: He was a starter for much of the season at Las Palmas and helped keep them in LaLiga. With Nunes and Kovacic there, he won’t get much playing time, so best to loan him out again and see how he continues to develop.

Verdict: Loan out

FORWARDS

Jack Grealish (28 years old, contract expires in 2027)

Ogden: This is an assessment season for him. He did not have a great year, and there’s no reason to extend him unless he shows that he can regain his form. If not, you look to shift him next summer.

Verdict: Keep, but do not extend

Jérémy Doku (21, 2028)

Verdict: Keep

Phil Foden (24, 2027)

Ogden: He signed a new deal in October 2022, but given how he’s progressed since then — he has 43 goals in the past 18 months — he deserves a raise.

Verdict: Keep and extend his contract

Oscar Bobb (20, 2029)

Marcotti: He signed a very long deal, which suggests they clearly believe in him. I’d expect him to get more and more minutes next season.

Verdict: Keep

Julián Álvarez (24, 2028)

Verdict: Keep, but look for upgrades

Erling Haaland (23, 2027)

Ogden: He obviously has a career plan, I’m not sure where he goes from here. We both believe he has a clause in his contract that would allow him to leave for a certain fee, but right now, especially with Real Madrid poised to sign Kylian Mbappé, there’s really nowhere for him to go.

Marcotti: Everyone is coy about the release clause and whether it even exists. If it does exist, when you do start talking about extending his deal — probably next summer — you want to make sure you remove it, though I doubt he will go for that. He has the leverage there.

Verdict: Keep


OVERALL VERDICT

Man City are clearly in great shape, but a lot will depend on Guardiola and how much longer he sees himself at the club.

If it’s just until his contract expires or maybe a year after that, you’d expect him to largely keep the same approach and only really make like-for-like tweaks, such as a succession plan for Silva and De Bruyne or adding depth to the back line. If it’s longer, you could see him thinking in terms of a tactical redesign, which is something he’s done every few years throughout his career. Either way, he may also think about adding a striker who can either play with Haaland (or out wide) or replace him when he’s unavailable.

The only real option right now is Julian Álvarez, who is a fine player but entirely different from Haaland both in his skill set and the way he plays.