Who would be the one player that Manchester City could not afford to lose? At the moment it might be their goalkeeper: Ederson.
Not because he plays a key part in their attacks (see his assist against Huddersfield at the weekend), but because City do not currently have a senior back-up.
Having already seen Kevin De Bruyne ruled out for three months with a knee injury, City suffered another blow this week as goalkeeper Claudio Bravo ruptured his Achilles tendon in training. The injury is likely to keep Bravo out for several months.
The setback means City’s No 2 goalkeeper is 20-year-old Daniel Grimshaw, who has come up through the youth ranks but has never featured in a first-team game.
Grimshaw signed a new three-year deal in the summer, after which City director of football Txiki Begiristain said: “He is a goalkeeper of great potential and has impressed Pep Guardiola and his coaching staff over the past two seasons with his hard work and progress.
“As a result of this, Daniel will be increasingly involved in the first team set-up next season.”
After Grimshaw, City’s next choice would probably be 17-year-old Curtis Anderson, another academy product who won the Under-17s World Cup with England last year.
These are seemingly City’s best options as they have sold Angus Gunn and Joe Hart this summer and allowed Arijanet Muric to join NAC Breda on a season-long loan.
Wolves vs Man City
August 25, 2018, 11:30am
Get Sky Sports Get a Sky Sports pass
So what can City do to strengthen their goalkeeping department?
Given the transfer window is closed for English clubs, City are not able to sign a new goalkeeper until January, unless he is a free agent.
Among the free agents currently available are former Liverpool and Crystal Palace goalkeeper Diego Cavalieri, and Stuart Taylor, who didn’t make an appearance for City in a three-year spell from 2009-2012 and is now 37.
However, to comply with Premier League squad rules, any out-of-contract player City recruit would have to be a homegrown player. To qualify as homegrown a player must have been registered with a club affiliated with the Football Association for at least three years before they turn 21.
That would rule out Cavalieri and also limit City’s free agent options.
Spanish newspaper AS has claimed City might consider making a move for Real Madrid goalkeeper Keylor Navas.
The Costa Rica international has been Real Madrid’s first-choice goalkeeper for the last three seasons and started their first game of the season against Getafe. However, he is expected to be usurped by summer signing Thibaut Courtois, with Kiko Casilla and Andriy Lunin waiting in the wings along with Luca Zidane.
City would need special dispensation from the Premier League to sign Navas – or any other contracted goalkeeper – on an “emergency loan”. That’s because Premier League rules have changed this year so clubs cannot make loan signings after the transfer deadline on August 9.
If City did apply for a loan the Premier League would look at their goalkeeping situation and decide on whether they deemed it as necessary.
However, it seems unlikely special dispensation would be granted as City already have two fit and available goalkeepers over the age of 18 in Ederson and Grimshaw.
Barcelona’s second-choice goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen has also been mentioned as a potential “emergency loan” option by Mundo Deportivo.
The other potential option for City might be 19-year-old Muric.
However, reports in the Netherlands claim City do not have a recall clause in the loan, and Muric started NAC Breda’s Eredivisie game against De Graafschap at the weekend.
If City are to bring in a goalkeeper before their clash with Wolves this Saturday, live on Sky Sports, then they will need to act quickly.
Otherwise, it looks like Grimshaw is likely to be back-up to Ederson, who City will be hoping stays clear of injury or suspension.
Watch Wolves v Manchester City live on Sky Sports from 11.30am on Saturday