Manchester City will begin their Premier League campaign against Wolves next weekend.
Manchester City need to continue improving their defence next season in order to have any chance of fighting for the Premier League title with Liverpool, according to Gary Neville. City forked out £40million for Bournemouth’s Nathan Ake and are keen on Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly.
Having finished 18 points behind last season’s runaway champions Liverpool, City have invested heavily in the transfer market already.
They spent £20m on Spanish winger Ferran Torres, and followed that up by spending big on Ake.
City chiefs are reportedly keen on Koulibaly, and are still in negotiations with Napoli over his signature.
The defender is set to break the club’s all-time transfer record, with Napoli demanding €70m [£68.1m] for his services
Pep Guardiola wants to sign a new centre-back this summer after some poor performances last season.
He wants a partner for Aymeric Laporte, with Ake set to act as a back-up or a third defender if Guardiola opts for a back three.
And Neville believes strengthening the back line is paramount for them to succeed in closing the gap next season.
He discussed their exit from the Champions League last month, as the Citizens were beaten by Lyon in Portugal.
Guardiola swapped his team around for the quarter-final, and the decision backfired as they were exposed at the back.
Neville explained that their big spend on full-backs will amount to nothing if they don’t bolster the centre-back positions.
“They definitely need better defenders because they’ve struggled badly,” he said.
“Even in the game in the Champions League where they lost to Lyon, it’s not right.
“I expected Pep to go to three at the back a lot earlier last season with the issues that he had and the players that he had.
“But they’ve always invested to back Pep.
“It was hundreds of millions spent on defenders by Manchester City in the last few years and they’ve still got problems at the back last season.
“It’s an issue for them. It cost them not just the league last season but the Champions League as well.”