Pep Guardiola will look at signing a new centre-back in the January transfer window after Manchester City defender Aymeric Laporte was ruled out for the rest of the year.
Laporte, who was taken off on a stretcher in Saturday’s 4-0 win over Brighton at the Etihad, had an operation in Barcelona to repair the lateral cartilage in his right knee and is expected to be out for more than four months. His absence leaves Guardiola with just two recognised centre-backs in Nicolas Otamendi and John Stones, who has missed the last three games with a thigh injury.
It will also raise questions over City’s decision not to sign another central defender this summer following Vincent Kompany’s departure to Anderlecht.
The Premier League champions were competing with Manchester United for Harry Maguire, but pulled out of the running once the bidding went above £65million, and were reluctant to make an alternative signing for the sake of it. Guardiola, who spent £122m on Rodri and Joao Cancelo, claimed at the weekend that there wasn’t enough money available to recruit another centre-back after seeing Laporte injured in a challenge with Brighton’s Adam Webster.