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Manchester City report: Champions in shock move for ex-Newcastle star

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola
(Image credit: Getty)

Manchester City are looking at one surprising star to replace Fernandinho.

Recently, the long-serving defensive midfielder and current captain at Eastlands announced that he would be returning to his native Brazil when his current contract ends. Fernandinho joined City from Shakhtar Donetsk in 2013 and has made almost 400 appearances for the club.

The 36-year-old is firmly a squad player now at City but has been a key man as Pep Guardiola's lone 'pivote' for a number of titles and trophies. 

Fernandinho Manchester City

(Image credit: PA)

Nevertheless, El Confidencial (opens in new tab) claim that Guardiola's first-choice replacement for Fernandinho is former Newcastle United midfielder Mikel Merino. While few would have considered the Spaniard capable of anchoring a title-winning midfield during his time on the Toon, he has flourished at Real Sociedad. 

City's first choice No.6 these days, Rodri, is more of a passer and less of a defensive presence in the centre of the park for the Citizens. Merino is more of this ilk, having been compared to La Real legend Xabi Alonso.

Mikel Merino

(Image credit: PA)

At 25, Merino is young enough to play as a back-up to Rodri with an eye to succeeding him at some point – or being sold at a profit. The former Magpie could even be converted into another position under Guardiola, too. 

Merino is valued at £45m by Transfermarkt (opens in new tab)

More Manchester City stories

In City's pursuit of a new striker, Erling Haaland has reportedly turned down a huge offer to bring him to the Premier League.

Elsewhere, England right-backs Kyle Walker and Trent Alexander-Arnold have both had their say on the state of the title race, with both City and Liverpool going strongly in the closing stages of the season. 

Pep Guardiola has recently been speaking about his ambition to win the Champions League with Man City, about the weaknesses that Liverpool have and about the possibility of him leaving Eastlands to manage a national team in the future.

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Mark White has been a staff writer on FourFourTwo since joining in January 2020, writing pieces for both online and the magazine. Over his time on the brand, he has interviewed the likes of Aaron Ramsdale and Jack Wilshere, written pieces ranging on subjects from Bobby Robson's season at Barcelona to Robinho's career, and has been to the FA Cup and League Cup finals, working for FFT