Man City Keep or Dump: Raheem Sterling, John Stones on the way out? Fernandinho's future?

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Manchester City have regained their position at the top of English football, winning the Premier League and Carabao Cup, but the wait to be crowned champions of Europe goes on after Champions League final defeat against Chelsea.

With manager Pep Guardiola extending his contract at the Etihad Stadium until June 2023, the club's stability and financial power ensure more challenges for the biggest honours, but City face a summer of change, with a world-class replacement needed for the exiting Sergio Aguero, as well as uncertainty over the futures of other senior players.

Our player-by-player assessment of the squad attempts to bring clarity to City's issues and options. Where you see a simple "Keep," you can assume we agreed and there wasn't much to talk about. Otherwise, we weighed in with comments.

It's not just about performance, either. It's about age, wages, character and contract length (we went with Transfermarkt for contract expiry dates for consistency). And there will be moving parts, too: departures or arrivals that cause chain reactions, sometimes unexpected.

Note: Several City players have contracts that include the option of a further year on expiry. For consistency, all contracts below relate to the primary year of expiration.

Jump to: Defenders | Midfielders | Forwards | Overall assessment


Ederson (27 years old, contract expires 2025)

OGDEN: Ederson is one of the best goalkeepers in the world, he's also a big part of City's attacking strategy and he is young enough to have another eight to ten years at the top. No rush to extend, but he's a key part of the team's long-term ambitions.

DAWSON: City don't need to worry about the goalkeeping position while they have Ederson.

Verdict: Keep

Zack Steffen (26, 2023)

DAWSON: Keep and renew his contract. He's a solid deputy for Ederson.

OGDEN: Hold off on a new deal. If Ederson was to be sidelined for a lengthy period, I'm not sure Steffen has shown that he is good enough for an extended run in the team. He needs to step it up next season to stop City looking for a new No. 2.

Verdict: Split (Extend / Keep and wait)

Scott Carson (35, season-long loan from Derby County expires in June)

OGDEN: Sign him from Derby and keep on the books as a solid No. 3 and mentor for the young keepers. He's a popular figure at the club and has earned the respect and admiration of Guardiola for embracing a difficult role.

Verdict: Keep


John Stones (27, 2022)

DAWSON: Renew his contract. He has his ups and downs, but at 27, he is worth tying down to a new deal.

OGDEN: Stones is a tough one. Ordinarily, you would extend and keep him as your second- or third-choice centre-back. But between him and Laporte, I'd keep Laporte, as he is a better defender and the same age.

Verdict: Split (Extend / Dump in order to keep Laporte. Estimated fee: £25m)

Kyle Walker (31, 2024)

DAWSON: Keep him, although there is no need to extend his contract considering his age and remaining length of current deal.

Verdict: Keep

Benjamin Mendy (26, 2023)

OGDEN: City need to move Mendy on and definitely not renew his contract. They don't make many mistakes in the transfer market, but he has never come close to offering value for money since a £52 million transfer from AS Monaco in 2017. He has not even made 50 Premier League appearances.

DAWSON: City will struggle to get even half of their money back on Mendy, even though a scarcity of good left-backs means they tend to maintain value.

Verdict: Dump (estimated fee: £15m)

Joao Cancelo (27, 2025)

DAWSON: Keep. No pressure to renew, despite a good season.

Verdict: Keep

Oleksandr Zinchenko (24, 2024)

DAWSON: Keep. No pressure to extend.

OGDEN: He's a reliable player, so I'd extend in 12 months' time if he continues to perform as consistently as he has. He has had a good season, but City can do better at left-back.

Verdict: Keep

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Aymeric Laporte (27, 2025)

OGDEN: City have no need to sell or extend his contract, but the issue with Laporte is being able to keep him happy after so much time out of the team. He would be a big loss, but moving him on for at least £60m could help fund moves for new players.

DAWSON: Keep him, but he may want to leave.

Verdict: Keep, but if he wants to leave, hold out for £60m.

Ruben Dias (24, 2026)

OGDEN: Keep. With five years on his contract, City have nothing to worry about, and he has been superb since arriving.

Verdict: Keep

Nathan Ake (26, 2025)

DAWSON: Keep. Been hit by injuries in his first season at the club, but offers cover at centre-half and left-back.

Verdict: Keep

Taylor Harwood-Bellis (19, 2024)

DAWSON: Keep. He did well on loan at Blackburn this season and City like him, but he probably needs to go out on loan again.

Verdict: Keep

Eric Garcia (20, 2021)

OGDEN: He's on his way to Barcelona as a free agent, so nothing City can do now.

Verdict: Dump (End of contract -- free transfer)


Fernandinho (36, 2021)

OGDEN: Even at his age, Fernandinho continues to be City's best holding midfielder, so they have to extend his contract for another year at least.

DAWSON: They have left it late, and Fernandinho may decide to move on as a free agent, but City need to keep him.

Verdict: Keep and extend

Rodri (24, 2024)

OGDEN: Keep, but no urgency to extend his contract. He needs a big season to prove he belongs. Missing out on a Champions League final starting spot should be a warning to him.

Verdict: Keep

Ilkay Gundogan (30, 2023)

DAWSON: He had a very good season, but with two years to run on his deal at 30 years old, there's no rush to extend his contract.

OGDEN: Keep, but wait to extend. City may have a looming problem with their defensive midfielders, due to the age of Fernandinho and Gundogan and Rodri's failure to prove he is the long-term solution.

Verdict: Keep

Kevin De Bruyne (29, 2025)

OGDEN: He's the main man at City, which is why they sensibly secured him to a long-term deal recently.

Verdict: Keep

Bernardo Silva (26, 2025)

DAWSON: Keep. No pressure to extend his contract.

OGDEN: Bernardo needs to raise his game. He has had a disappointing season and could be vulnerable to being moved on next year if he continues to stand still.

Verdict: Keep

Phil Foden (21, 2024)

DAWSON: Give him a new contract. His last extension was in 2018, so he is long overdue a new deal.

OGDEN: Foden is the future at City and could be winning major honours for at least the next 10 years. He was a boyhood fan and has deep roots at the club, but should not be taken for granted. Give him a new deal ASAP to reward his progress.

Verdict: Keep and extend

Tommy Doyle (19, 2025)

DAWSON: Loan him out and see how he goes, but City really like him, as his long-term contract shows.

Verdict: Keep and loan

Cole Palmer (19, 2024)

DAWSON: City have big hopes for Palmer, but are not sure he is ready to be loaned out. Give him the Foden treatment and let him develop by being in and around the first-team squad.

Verdict: Keep


Raheem Sterling (26, 2023)

OGDEN: Sterling scored 14 goals in all competitions last season, but didn't do enough in the biggest games. With Foden becoming a better option on the left side and Sterling's contractual situation, City might believe that moving on, rather than offering him a new deal, is the best long-term decision.

DAWSON: City will look to extend his contract, but he might say no and try to run it down or leave next year. There is an argument to move him now because of his performances.

Verdict: Dump -- move on this summer and raise approximately £60m or risk that halving in 12 months' time.

Gabriel Jesus (24, 2023)

OGDEN: City have to keep him because of Aguero's departure, but Jesus hasn't done enough to warrant a contract extension.

DAWSON: It's crunch time for Jesus. He has to step up next season and show he can be relied upon to score goals, regardless of who City sign to replace Aguero. Keep, but don't extend yet.

Verdict: Keep

Ferran Torres (21, 2025)

OGDEN: He has had a very good first season in England following his transfer from Valencia, but no rush is needed on a new deal.

Verdict: Keep

Jack Harrison (24, 2022)

OGDEN: Likely to complete a £15m transfer to Leeds United after three seasons on loan at Elland Road, Harrison is another example of City's smart player development programme following his emergence as a youngster in MLS with New York City FC.

Verdict: Dump -- estimated fee: £15m

Riyad Mahrez (30, 2023)

DAWSON: Keep him, but Mahrez is too inconsistent to be given a new deal. Wait until his final year before addressing that.

OGDEN: I would extend Mahrez by another year, largely due to the uncertainty surrounding Sterling. You don't want both wingers leaving at the same time.

Verdict: Keep

Patrick Roberts (24, 2022)

DAWSON: He was 18 when he signed from Fulham in 2015 and looked a real talent, but he has spent six years on loan, so time to cash in with a permanent transfer.

Verdict: Dump

Liam Delap (18, 2023)

DAWSON: He is too good for the underage teams, but maybe too young for a loan. Like Palmer, allow Delap to develop by training with the first team.

Verdict: Keep

Sergio Aguero (32, 2021)

OGDEN: He has agreed to join Barcelona when his contract expires this month, so City need to replace their all-time Premier League top scorer.

Verdict: Replace (End of contract -- free transfer)

Overall assessment

The contractual situation of the squad highlights the sound management and forward planning overseen by the hierarchy of Guardiola, chief executive Ferran Soriano and director of football Txiki Begiristain. City are in control of every issue and that certainty enables them to plan well in advance of every transfer window.

City will not have decided against keeping the 32-year-old Aguero without having an idea of who they can get to replace him. Tottenham Hotspur's Harry Kane is the most likely target, although the champions could wait 12 months and try to sign Kylian Mbappe when his contract expires at Paris Saint-Germain, or Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland.

Sterling's future is also one to watch, but a lack of potential suitors could see him stay without a new deal. Meanwhile, a new left-back and holding midfielder are needed.

Pursuing Kane would mean paying a club-record fee that breaks the existing mark of £64m, but City have the money to do it. As for any other deals, most can be funded by moving on underperforming squad players.