Although Eliaquim Mangala has struggled to convince at Man City, his possible exit could be a headache for boss Pep Guardiola.
The 26-year-old joined City from Porto in 2014 with big expectations, and although he had 63 appearances to his name in all competitions in two seasons at the Etihad, he was always culpable for a mistake or two.
In turn, he spent last season on loan at Valencia, and would have hoped to have come back and pushed for a starting role under Guardiola this season.
It hasn’t worked out that way as he’s made just five appearances in all competitions so far this season, but the timing of The Sun’s report suggesting that the French international could seek an exit in January seems strange given Guardiola’s current problems.
“Whether I will be here in two months, next summer, one year, you never know. The only thing you can do is to be focused on what I can control,” he is quoted as saying in the report.
“At the moment I am in the squad, I am at this club. I am going to work, to help my team-mates, whether I am playing or not.”
Mangala would do well to stick it out for the time being, as with John Stones currently out injured coupled with Vincent Kompany’s injury history, there could be a slot open for him to fill in the coming weeks.
That in turn will give him the opportunity to impress Guardiola and prove that he deserves a more prominent role, which could ensure he has a long-term future at City.
The Spanish tactician will surely be hoping for that type of response from Mangala, as ultimately he doesn’t want to be left even lighter in defence as his side looks set to compete on various fronts this season.
Guardiola has found a balance in this side as evidenced with top spot in the Premier League and their Champions League group, so in an ideal world he’ll arguably want to keep his current squad together with a possible reinforcement where necessary rather than looking for replacements in January.