Guardiola won't hunt for keeper after Bravo blow

Mike WHALLEY
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola doesn't plan to sign a goalkeeper after Claudio Bravo's injury

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has decided not to sign an out-of-contract goalkeeper after losing Claudio Bravo to a long-term Achilles tendon injury.

Guardiola has recalled Montenegro Under-21 international Aro Muric from a loan spell with Dutch club NAC Breda to provide cover for first-choice Ederson, having considered other options.

Bravo's injury leaves City short of goalkeeping back-up, having sold Angus Gunn to Southampton in July and Joe Hart to Burnley in August.

With the English deadline for incoming transfers having passed on August 9, City were not in a position to bring in a goalkeeper from another club, although they could have signed a free agent and then asked the Premier League for permission to register him.

Former Liverpool and Crystal Palace goalkeeper Diego Cavalieri was understood to be an option, while Stuart Taylor, a one-time City back-up, was another.

However, Guardiola has decided that 19-year-old Muric and 20-year-old Daniel Grimshaw can act as cover for Ederson, despite their lack of experience.

Grimshaw has never played a senior game, while Muric's only first-team exposure was the one Dutch league match he played for NAC before his loan was cut short.

Asked on Friday if he would sign a free agent, Guardiola said: "No. From the beginning, Aro was our option.

"We know him and he trained with us all last season. We loaned him out because second-team football here is not a real competition, you know my opinion on that.

"We want to see him play every weekend but after what happened with Claudio, the first option was bring him back, because the window was closed, so we had no other option.

"Aro and Grimmy, with Ederson will be our three goalkeepers."

- Quick decision -

Guardiola said he did consider his options with goalkeeping coach Xabi Mancisidor, but added that the transfer rules restricted what he could do.

"I spoke with Xabi, and he told me about many, many keepers in Barcelona, Madrid, Spain but we could not buy," he said.

"The journalists say you have to do that (buy someone) but it is not possible because we cannot buy here in the transfer window.

"Players that have retired (we could sign), maybe, but immediately we spoke about if it was possible for Aro to come back.

"We called the Premier League to see what the situation was and they told us it was possible for Aro to come back and after that the decision was quick."

City could still move players out, as several European countries do not have their transfer deadline until August 31.

Real Betis are keen to sign defender Oleksandr Zinchenko on loan, but Guardiola said: "He's our player. We will see what happens between now and the end of the month.

"But now he's training and with the situation maybe not easy for him, I'm really impressed with the way he trains and his professionalism."

City visit promoted Wolves in the Premier League on Saturday, with Guardiola suggesting his players will not be up to speed fully until after the September international break.

The City boss suggested a week ago that Kevin de Bruyne's long-term knee injury, set to keep him out of action until late November, may have been caused by post-World Cup fatigue, and he feels that his squad is struggling generally at present.

"We are still not in the best condition. That's why we have to take points and hopefully after the international break we can be better and better," he said.