Pep Guardiola believes Manchester City will need regenerating next summer following the departures of Vincent Kompany and David Silva but has ruled out signing new players in January.
Kompany left in the close season, while Silva will finish his City career at the end of the current campaign. Fernandinho, who is 35 in May, could also depart.
“David has confirmed he’s leaving,” the City manager said. “Fernandinho doesn’t know [about his future] but it’s normal. The players that arrive at his age and this stage of their lives – we have to replace them.”
Of the Brazil midfielder being offered a new deal, Guardiola said: “Txiki Begiristain [the sporting director] – you have to ask him. I think at the end of the season we are going to decide on the situation. The players who finished their contracts, the players with full contracts: what we have to do, what we believe is the best for the club and organisation for next season.”
Guardiola denied a wholesale overhaul is needed. “Three players is not rebuilding the team. Rebuilding the team is seven or eight, which we did in the second season when seven players finished their contract because 11 players were over 30. Buying two or three players is not rebuild, it’s just substituting positions.”
City are third, 11 points behind Liverpool, before Tuesday’s trip to Burnley. Despite the deficit and the centre-back Aymeric Laporte being in a race to recover from a serious knee injury, Guardiola will not strengthen in the winter transfer window.
“I don’t want any players in January,” he said. “When they come for an incredible opportunity in January for the next four, five, six [years] maybe we could think about it. Normally the players we could think would be interesting to add something for our squad – clubs are not going to sell them in January.”
City have failed to keep a clean sheet in their past seven matches. “That is not good enough. We must improve,” Guardiola said but denied they were missing Kompany, now at Anderlecht, who, as captain, was a strong influence on the pitch and in the dressing room.
“This group is extraordinary, the group is incredible. They take care of themselves perfectly and are an incredible unit. Vincent was an important player and person for this club but he decided to go to Belgium and we have other incredible players to do the job.”
Ilkay Gündogan is suspended for the visit to Turf Moor and City will miss the midfielder against a side Guardiola knows will be competitive. “Burnley are an incredible team going for the second balls and not just one player, two players going to defend the strategy or the way they attack.”