With two weeks of the transfer window to go, it remains to be seen if Manchester City can sign a central defender they desperately need - how will they line up if they get deals done?

Money has never really been an obstacle for Manchester City since Sheikh Mansour walked through the door at the Etihad, but even they have not been immune to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

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While City have strengthened their squad with the acquisitions of Nathan Ake and Ferran Torres, having surrendered their Premier League crown to Liverpool last season, there have not been the amount of fresh faces brought in Pep Guardiola would have wanted.

It did appear, for so long, that Lionel Messi would link-up with Guardiola again in Manchester, but alas it was not meant to be. There does seem to be some money to spend, but which players will come in?

How City could line up post transfer window?

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A central defender is clearly the priority for City. All summer, it seemed they have been poised to bring in Kalidou Koulibaly to finally go some way to filling the void left by Vincent Kompany at the club, but in these unprecedented times, City have not necessarily been willing to part with the £75m for the Napoli centre-back.

Instead, Sevilla's young starlet Jules Kounde has emerged as a potential cheaper alternative. Sevilla are reluctant to part with the talented 21-year-old who played such a key role in their Europa League success, but a substantial bid of over £55m could tempt the Andalucians into selling.

Another option City have is another La Liga star in Jose Gimenez, but relations between Atletico and City seem strained already. City have also categorically denied placing a £78m bid for Gimenez, after Atletico's president claimed he had rejected an offer for the 25-year-old. Speaking to a Spanish sports radio programme, Enrique Cerezo said:

We did receive the offer, but Gimenez is a magnificent player and we are interested in having magnificent players in the team.

With City seemingly unwilling to match Gimenez's valuation, it seems Kounde could be the man to come in to shore up their backline.

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What other areas need addressing?

With Sergio Aguero out injured, City could do with another striker to provide support for Gabriel Jesus, but with limited funds, it seems Pep, who has had a penchant for deploying teams without a recognised striker in the past, is not interested in targets other than Messi.

Guardiola has bemoaned the fact that City have just "13" fit players, so the City hierarchy could be persuaded to dig a little deeper to find some last minute transfer kitty.

A replacement of some description for David Silva could be on the agenda, given the injuries City have. City are reportedly set to compete with Arsenal for Lyon midfielder Houssem Aouar. Arsenal are interested in signing Aouar, who is valued at £54m, and have considered a bid involving money plus Matteo Guendouzi. Guardiola may battle his former assistant Mikel Arteta as he looks to sign the 22-year-old.

"Maybe [director general] Vincent Ponsot was contacted by Manchester City, I am not sure," Lyon sporting director Juninho. Well that cleared that up, then.

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