Pep Guardiola dropped hint as Toni Kroos £13m transfer reality clear for Man City

The end of the season is getting closer, which means so is the transfer window.

Manchester City will be active once again in the summer, moving some players on and doing what they can to strengthen the squad. Already, reports of potential signings are popping up - but which are fact and which are fiction?

It's not only transfers, either, with Pep Guardiola's contract soon to enter its' final year after his extension in 2022. Just like the season before this one, expect plenty of discussion of the manager's future - will he stay longer, could he leave before that, will he do what Jurgen Klopp did and announce a decision in the middle of a season?

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Here, MEN Sport have attempted to offer some much-needed context to some of the reports and stories doing the rounds this week, from a suggestion of a Guardiola extension, to talk of an unhappy member in the City dressing room:

One more year for Pep?

Pep Guardiola's future has been a topic of discussion again in recent weeks, with some musing whether the Blues supremo might call it a day at the end of this season if he achieves another Double of Premier League and FA Cup. Former City defender Joleon Lescott was among those to raise the point as he wondered aloud during commentary of the game at Fulham whether Guardiola may choose to call it a day this summer.

However, speaking ahead of the Spurs game Guardiola mentioned the extra year remaining on his contract when he was talking about the backing that he gets from his bosses. "I couldn't be in a better place in terms of my chairman, CEO, sporting director," he said.

"The people above me, I've never had this support in my life! That's why I'm still at Man City, eight years, and it will be another one, nine years. It's that reason."

The MEN says: Guardiola's future is an understandable topic because the manager does not like to be tied down for too long. Nobody expected him to be in Manchester as long as eight years and it is testament to the environment created by the City hierarchy that he has stayed.

Everyone wants to leave on a high and there have been hints in previous years that Guardiola could be tempted by it, but his comments this week tally with the MEN reporting that 2025 looks far likelier as a probable exit. It feels significant that a man who can be ambiguous when asked about his future made sure to clarify that he had another year left at the club.

Two year deal for Kroos?

Talk is increasing in Spain that Real Madrid's midfield mainstay Toni Kroos will be moved on this summer as Jude Bellingham leads the new era which will likely include Kylian Mbappe at the Bernabeu. Luka Modric is in the same boat, as Real look to add the Champions League to their La Liga crown before two of their best ever midfielders could potentially depart.

According to Defensa Central, City are monitoring Kroos' situation and would be prepared to offer a two year contract to land the German's signature on a free transfer, at a cost of £13m per year in wages.

It's added that Kroos is undecided on his future, which could also see him call time on his playing career after Euro 2024.

The MEN says: On the one hand it's understandable for City to be linked with a player of Kroos' quality - and the Blues' midfield will be under scrutiny this summer. The futures of Kevin De Bruyne and Bernardo Silva are set to be under speculation, while there are still question marks over Matheus Nunes' place in the team while Kalvin Phillips looks set to move on.

On the other hand, however good Kroos is, would it be wise to hand out such an expensive two-year contract to a 34-year old? City were reluctant to give Ilkay Gundogan more than a year last summer when he was 32, but then softened their stance on only handing out one year deals to players over 30 when giving Kyle Walker a big extension.

Kroos would clearly be a classy edition to City's midfield, but surely there are more longer-term transfers available. This one feels like an obscure Spanish media outlet linking a top player with a top club.

Stones 'unhappy'

John Stones is reported to be 'extremely unhappy' at his lack of match action for City and that his future at the club is 'up in the air' as a result. The England defender is also said to have concerns about his international standing if he doesn't win his place back soon.

The MEN says: Stones should be unhappy not to be in the team, but also has to acknowledge that he hasn't been available enough this season to be a reliable pick. His form has not been good enough to make him an automatic choice when fit because his campaign has been so stop-start with injuries.

Life at City can change very quickly and Stones knows that more than most, having been available for sale despite his wishes in the 2020 summer transfer window before forming an unbreakable partnership with Ruben Dias the following season when an opportunity popped up. City know his class and his chances will come, but he also has to have the patience and respect for his teammates to wait for that.

Stones's contract is only until 2026 so there will have to be a conversation about his future, but the former Barnsley defender has in the past been open to finishing his career at City.

Ederson has Rodri's back

Asked about the Premier League Player of the Season nominations, Ederson had some strong words for the selectors who omitted City teammate Rodri. "I see Rodri as a great candidate who isn't on the list. I don't understand why he's not on the list either. Honestly, that's unacceptable," the Brazilian told ESPN.

"If you look at his year, his campaign, the last few seasons he's been playing and see that he's not on the list, it's absurd. I don't know what criteria they use to nominate players, but there are also great players competing. But I see Rodri as a great candidate to win and unfortunately he's not on the list."

So who is Rodri backing instead? "I think I'll be rooting for Phil [Foden] to win, because Phil is also having a great season, he's helped us a lot. This season he's scored more goals, provided more assists, been more consistent and more important to the team too."

The MEN says: Ederson is spot on. Rodri has been almost faultless this season (barring his Forest red card) and has been consistent for a number of seasons now. There are no better defensive midfielders in the league. Declan Rice has been brilliant for Arsenal, but has he been better, or more influential than Rodri?

At the very least, they have been equally as impressive, so if Rice is on the shortlist, why isn't Rodri. And with Rodri higher than Rice on the PFA Player of the Year odds, it will show up his snub even more.

Pep Guardiola said recently that he pays little attention to the individual awards, and presumably the players will remember their team medals far more than their individual ones. But it's interesting to see Ederson speak so strongly in defence of his teammate - maybe Guardiola has misread how much attention is paid in the dressing room to these shortlists.