Guardiola believes Fernandinho will sign new Manchester City contract

Pep Guardiola is confident Fernandinho will sign a new contract at Manchester City.

The veteran Brazilian midfielder, who has been forced to reinvent himself as a centre-back this season, is in the final year of his current deal.

Talks have now begun to extend the stay of the 34-year-old, who has won three Premier League titles since joining the club from Shakhtar Donetsk in 2013.

City manager Guardiola said: “Of course (I’d like him to stay). I’m so confident and I’m so delighted with the three-and-a-half years we’ve had together.

Guardiola (left) is confident Fernandinho will stay at the Etihad beyond his current deal
Guardiola (left) is confident Fernandinho will stay at the Etihad beyond his current deal (Martin Rickett/PA)

“He does not have to convince me to stay longer – he convinced me on day one. He knows exactly the opinion we have about what he’s done at the club for many years.

“He is one of the greatest players this club has had in its whole history.”

Fernandinho switched to defence after the departure of Vincent Kompany at the end of last season and then injury to Aymeric Laporte left Guardiola short at the back.

John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi have also missed games and lacked form, leaving Fernandinho as clear first choice in the position.

Laporte, who has been out since August with a knee injury, is now nearing a return. The Frenchman has stepped up his recovery by playing a part in training this week and he could be back in action in the coming weeks.

Guardiola said: “Yesterday was the first time he trained with the team for 10 or 15 minutes. He’s getting better, he feels good. I think in the next week he’ll complete all the training sessions with us.

“You cannot forget it’s more than four months out. He needs time. He is training with us but the day after he can’t play 90 minutes. It’s a process but the important thing is he didn’t make a step back during these four or five months.”

Aymeric Laporte is closing in on a return
Aymeric Laporte is closing in on a return (Adam Davy/PA)

City, the holders, host League Two Port Vale in the third round of the FA Cup on Saturday. Guardiola is likely to make changes as he looks ahead to the Carabao Cup semi-final first leg against Manchester United in midweek but he insists he will still be taking the FA Cup very seriously.

He said: “We were focused in previous seasons too. It wouldn’t be possible to win two Carabao Cups in a row and the FA Cup last season if we were not focused in the cups and the Premier League.

“I’ve said many times, we try to play every game seriously and give a lot of importance, no matter what competition we are playing.

“Of course we play at home and, especially in this schedule, with an incredible amount of games, to not travel and be at home is a big advantage – but it is a knockout game and anything can happen.”

Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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