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Transfer Rater: Douglas Costa to Man City

Football Whispers

Five Manchester City players who could be leaving the club

The worst kept secret in football has finally been made public with the confirmation that Pep Guardiola is to take over as the manager of Manchester City next season. Guardiola has signed a three-year contract with the challenge of turning the Premier League side into Champions League winners. While that could see some of the biggest names in Europe follow him to City, some of the existing squad will know that their places are seriously under threat.

Here are five players who could be on their way out of the Etihad at the end of the season.

1. Yaya Toure

The Ivorian would seem to be the biggest name in danger with the change of manager in the summer. Toure was a solid defensive midfielder when Guardiola allowed him to leave Barcelona to join Manchester City for £25m in 2010 -- replacing him with the thrusting energy of Sergio Busquets, who was more suited to Barca's high-energy game.

Toure has reinvented himself as a goalscoring attacking midfielder since his switch to the Etihad but it's difficult to see how he can survive a squad overhaul. Now 32, his lumbering style has already marked him out for criticism; pundit Jamie Carragher questioned Toure's effort in the recent defeat to title rivals Arsenal. Also, Toure's agent, Dimitry Seluk, has already suggested that Guardiola's arrival means it is the end for Toure in Manchester.

2. Wilfried Bony

Toure's Ivory Coast teammate joined City for £28m in January 2015 and has struggled to take his opportunity at the Etihad. The 27-year-old has scored just six Premier League goals in 12 months -- partly due to missing games through injury, illness and a month at the Africa Nations' Cup.

That would put Bony's City future in doubt even before the arrival of Guardiola. But it's hard to see how the striker would fit into a system of sharp tika-taka possession football. While Bony is more than a simple old-fashioned target man, he does not have the finesse of previous Guardiola forwards like Lionel Messi at Barcelona and Robert Lewandowksi at Bayern Munich.

Sergio Aguero would be the clear choice as the central striker in a 4-3-3 system, while the emergence of the stylish Kelechi Iheanacho would seem to be a more viable back-up. And with Guardiola set to be given a healthy transfer budget in the summer, Bony's days could be numbered.

3. Fernando

Guardiola spent much of his playing career at the base of the midfield in a 4-3-3 formation and places a lot of emphasis on the position. At Bayern he switched Phillip Lahm from full-back to the No. 4 position because he felt Lahm had the energy and intelligence required for the role.

Guardiola's formations and mechanisms depend on a selfless defensive midfielder, who allows the more incisive players around him the freedom to push forward knowing that their backs are covered if they lose possession. Fernando has underwhelmed in a similar role under current manager Manuel Pellegrini, and the position could be an area where Guardiola will spend big in the summer when he takes over, with Juventus's Paul Pogba already seen as a potential target.

4. Samir Nasri

It's been a miserable season for the Frenchman, who has already missed much of the season with a tendon injury and was dropped from City's Champions League squad on Monday. Nasri is close friends with Toure and the midfielder could well be joining him on the way out of the Etihad in the summer.

While he has undoubted qualities as a skilful and creative playmaker, he has always been behind the mercurial David Silva in the pecking order at City and was pushed further back by the big money arrivals of Kevin De Bruyne and Raheem Sterling.

While not exactly sanctioning the deal, Guardiola will have been aware of last summer's deals, which would suggest that Nasri's time at City could be up.

5. Bacary Sagna

Attacking full-backs are a trademark of Guardiola's teams. At Barcelona he had Dani Alves and Eric Abidal and at Bayern the Catalan has David Alaba and Rafinha acting as supplementary wingers in his side's attack.

City's four full-backs are all in their 30s and new signings would seem inevitable. Sagna has done well for City this season making 32 appearances, with Pablo Zabaleta missing much of the campaign through injury. But Sagna will turn 33 in a fortnight and is the least forward-minded of City's quartet of full-backs.

Jonathan is ESPN FC's Manchester City correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @jonnysmiffy.


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