Phil Foden’s change could signal Man City second plan if two key stars exit this summer

Phil Foden’s change could signal Man City second plan if two key stars exit this summer

On Saturday, when Ilkay Gundogan added two more goals to his increasing collection of hat-tricks in big games for Manchester City, it was inevitable that more questions would arise regarding his future.

Gundogan, whose contract expires this summer, will not sign a new contract until after the Champions League championship game.

Pep Guardiola has informed City that he wants his captain to remain, and he reaffirmed this position following the FA Cup final at Wembley.

Seven days before one of the biggest games of his career, Gundogan declined to address questions about his future. However, it has since been reported that the German is closer to agreeing to a new contract with City after some movement in negotiations.

According to quotes attributed to Gundogan’s agent, no such agreement has been signed, placing everyone back in the same position as before the final. Unquestionably, however, Gundogan’s absence from City’s midfield would create a massive void.

If Bernardo Silva were to also depart, this chasm would grow even wider. Guardiola stated that he ‘did not know’ if the FA Cup final would be Bernardo’s final domestic game for City, and as the Portuguese limped out of Wembley (despite assuring reporters he was not injured), he is another player who could very well depart the Etihad this summer.
Bernardo has long desired to flee the city.

He adores playing for City and will continue to give his all as long as he remains a Blue, but he would prefer to relocate closer to home and away from North West England. Acceptable enough.

This year, Bernardo may attempt a third time is a charm after requesting to leave for the past two summers. If both he and Gundogan were to depart, they would be difficult to replace.

Since the Premier League has been won, the fact that Phil Foden has been utilized more and more in midfield feels like more than a mere coincidence.

Against Chelsea, he played centrally, and he also operated centrally during portions of the matches against Brighton and Brentford. When he was substituted in at Wembley, he was also drifting toward the center.

Foden’s long-term progression has been to the midfield, similar to David Silva’s move to the interior, but Guardiola has resisted the positional transition to give Foden time to develop tactically, as well as utilizing his directness on the wings.

Now receiving a prolonged trial in the middle, could Foden be City’s “Plan B” without Gundogan and Bernardo? He would know the requirements better than any prospective signing, give Riyad Mahrez more playing time on the wing, and help City transition to a future without their two most important midfielders.

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Plan A would undoubtedly involve retaining both players, but Plan B is not a terrible alternative.

Phil Foden’s change could signal Man City second plan if two key stars exit this summer