Pep to beat Liverpool to first Man City signing and he’s no big name…YET

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Since it was confirmed on deadline day that Pep Guardiola would be Manchester City’s new manager next season, numerous players have been tipped as probable first signings.

Neymar or Lionel Messi from Barcelona, Juventus’ Paul Pogba, Robert Lewandowski of current club Bayern Munich and even West Ham’s Dimitri Payet have been speculated over.

With the Citizens certain to have a huge transfer war chest this summer, all of the focus has been on the stellar names costing lofty fees that Guardiola can lure to the Etihad.

However, it is worth noting that when the summer transfer window opened ahead of the 2013/14 Bundesliga season, Guardiola’s first as Bayern boss, it was not a flurry of big names that walked through the door.

Mario Gotze did arrive from German rivals Borussia Dortmund, but the other new recruit wasn’t a recognised superstar. Instead it was current Sunderland defender Jan Kirschoff.

Therefore, it is far from guaranteed that Man City’s first summer arrival will be a household name and one current target is Leandro Paredes.

The 21-year-old midfielder has already impressed Liverpool, having been on loan at Empoli this season from parent club Roma.

WhoScored certainly rank the midfielder highly. He supposedly has no weaknesses but is strong across 10 attributes, including key passes, long shots, dribbling and through balls.

Despite this towering reputation, Paredes has only contributed two goals and a lone assist in Serie A this season for Empoli and where he will fit in at City remains open to question.

He is a potential long-term successor to Yaya Toure, who Guardiola has already shipped on once when together at Barcelona.

City haven’t got that midfield general in the mould of a Xavi or Xabi Alonso that can dictate the tempo of games from deeper positions.

Fernando, Fernandinho and Fabian Delph don’t really have the passing guile to perform this duty, with the latter pair in particular more about energy and hard work.

Paredes is far from the finished product in this regard, but could be the long-term prospect to filling such a role.

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.