Manchester City considering Achraf Hakimi as Kyle Walker replacement?

Manchester City head coach Pep Guardiola reportedly earmarks Paris Saint-Germain’s Achraf Hakimi as his ideal replacement for Bayern Munich-linked Kyle Walker.

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola could reportedly push for a move for Paris Saint-Germain‘s Achraf Hakimi if Kyle Walker leaves the club.

Having utilised John Stones in an inverted role during the second half of the 2022-23 season to good effect, Guardiola memorably admitted that Walker “could not play” in his system, casting doubt over his future at the Etihad.

Nevertheless, Walker forced his way back into the XI to play a key role in Man City’s treble success, although he only came off the bench for the final eight minutes of the Champions League final.

The 33-year-old – who also failed to register a single goal or assist in the Premier League last term – is only under contract at the Etihad until 2024, and Bayern Munich have emerged as contenders for his signature.

It has been suggested that Man City could instead offer Walker a new deal, but recent reports have claimed that the former Tottenham Hotspur man is now closing in on a switch to Bayern.

Paris Saint-Germain's Achraf Hakimi during the warm up before the match on August 7, 2021© Reuters

Should Walker end his association with the Citizens, Marca reports that Hakimi is Guardiola’s number one choice to replace him amid uncertainty over his PSG future.

The 24-year-old shone for Christophe Galtier‘s side last season with five goals and six assists from 39 games in all tournaments, winning the Trophee des Champions and Ligue 1 title in the process.

Hakimi is not due to become a free agent for another three years, but his representative Alejandro Camano recently refused to rule out a move elsewhere for his client following another last-16 Champions League exit for Les Parisiens.

“When PSG has a new manager, we will talk about the project. We will see. It is one of the best clubs in the world. We’re waiting for things to stabilise and we will see,” Camano told AS, as quoted by L’Equipe.

Man City have apparently been keeping tabs on Hakimi since his rise to stardom at Borussia Dortmund and have touched base with PSG to discuss a possible move, but the French champions can afford to play hardball in negotiations.

Morocco's Achraf Hakimi in September 2022© Reuters

Hakimi has registered a total of nine goals and 12 assists in 80 games since leaving Inter Milan for PSG in 2021, and the right-back also started all of Morocco’s World Cup games during their historic run to the semi-finals.

As well as Walker, Man City are expected to wave goodbye to Joao Cancelo, who spent the second half of the 2022-23 season on loan at Bayern after becoming a bit-part player for Guardiola.

Cancelo made a positive impression at the Allianz Arena with one goal and six assists in 21 matches, but Bayern are not expected to take up their offer of a permanent deal.

Barcelona boss Xavi has confirmed that he would be interested in bringing Cancelo to Camp Nou, while Arsenal have also been tipped to make a move for the Portugal international but have apparently turned their attention to Ajax’s Jurrien Timber instead.

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