LONDON - Sheik Mansour will bankroll another mega-spending spree at Manchester City this summer after making it clear he is in full support of Pep Guardiola.
Guardiola’s performance during his first season in charge has come under increasing scrutiny. He will have a trophyless campaign for the first time in his managerial career, and City are still sweating over Champions League qualification.
According to sources close to the club’s summer recruitment drive, Guardiola will try to sign as many as eight players. He spent more than £150million after taking over last summer and can expect a similar budget this year.
City are after two new full backs and Guardiola’s targets - Kyle Walker of Tottenham and Valencia’s Jose Gaya - could cost more than £40m. Arsenal’s Hector Bellerin is another defender City are looking at.
Seven players are out of contract this summer, including Yaya Toure and Pablo Zabaleta, so strengthening the squad is a big priority.
Defender Bacary Sagna is likely to leave and Guardiola is after a new goalkeeper as the signing of Claudio Bravo has failed spectacularly this season. But midfielder Jesus Navas is set to be offered a new contract after convincing Guardiola he can fill in at right back.
However, the expected influx of new players means a number of the club’s talented academy graduates will again be allowed to leave on loan.
It is understood that a number of youngsters have grown disillusioned with the lack of first-team chances.
City have increased season- ticket prices for the first time in two years, a fortnight after Sportsmail revealed Guardiola’s concerns surrounding the atmosphere at the Etihad.
Fans were informed of an average rise of two per cent on Tuesday, although the cheapest tickets - for 2 000 seats in the third tier of the south stand - remain at £299. But the cost of the new ‘Tunnel Club’, where fans can see the players gearing up for matches, are believed to start at £7 000.