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Guardiola faces big decisions about his Man City legends as Sterling, Jesus and Mahrez enter the final years of their contracts

PEP GUARDIOLA will have to make some agonizing decisions about his “Legends” this summer.

The Manchester City boss was full of praise for his squad after winning a fourth Premier League title in five years on Sunday – calling them ‘eternal’.

Gabriel Jesus (left) and Raheem Sterling could leave Manchester City when the transfer window opens

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Gabriel Jesus (left) and Raheem Sterling could leave Manchester City when the transfer window opensPhoto credit: Reuters
City could benefit from Riyad Mahrez as he is about to enter the last year of his contract

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City could benefit from Riyad Mahrez as he is about to enter the last year of his contractPhoto credit: Getty
Ilkay Gündogan is also tipped for a change, but Pep Guardiola is keen to keep the German

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Ilkay Gündogan is also tipped for a change, but Pep Guardiola is keen to keep the GermanPhoto credit: Getty

But there remains a question mark as to whether a handful of the heroes will be there when their latest title defense begins in August.

And one of those whose future has to be decided is Ilkay Gündogan, the savior of Sunday with two goals.

You’d think that a team that has amassed 93 points and scored 99 goals in another stellar season wouldn’t take much work to do.

But Pep has shown before that he’s not one to stand still and admire the view from the summit.

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He’s also proven he’s not afraid to make important decisions about club legends – just ask Sergio Aguero.

Guardiola already knows he has two prolific strikers when his squad return to pre-season training in July – and what a boost that will give them.

The signing of Erling Haaland has grabbed all the headlines – but Argentina international Julian Alvarez also comes from River Plate and has the potential to be just as exciting.

And the big question is who makes room for the new boys at the Etihad?

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Three of the current forwards – Raheem Sterling, Gabriel Jesus and Riyad Mahrez – will enter the final year of their City contracts next month.

Jesus is most likely to leave this summer, with Arsenal and Tottenham among a host of clubs chasing his signature.

Sterling’s situation remains unchanged after a mixed season – he wants to play regularly and has often been left out of key games.

That means City may have to sit out his work to convince him to sign a new contract.

And if a sizeable offer comes along this summer, City would have to make a difficult decision as he remains a valuable asset at 27.

City have in the past been careful not to let their star players enter the final year of their contracts but that remains a real possibility with the England ace.

Mahrez is significantly older at 31, so a new deal is less likely.

Paris Saint-Germain are regularly linked with a move for him and City would certainly be tempted if an offer comes in.

Alvarez can play wide or down the middle – while highly-rated local youngster Cole Palmer, 20, will be looking for more first-team action next season.

Exciting youngster Julian Alvarez will join City this summer

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Exciting youngster Julian Alvarez will join City this summerPhoto credit: Getty
Erling Haaland will also arrive at the Etihad

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Erling Haaland will also arrive at the EtihadPhoto credit: Reuters

Important decisions must also be made in midfield as City bid farewell to another of their stalwarts in Fernandinho.

Reports last week suggest Gundogan has been told he can leave as he also has just one year left on his contract.

But Guardiola has hinted even before that remarkable last day that he would prefer his first signing to remain with him. At just over £20m, he has proved a steal for City.

So it wouldn’t be out of the question for him to run out of contract and leave for nothing next summer.

Much will depend on whether Guardiola can lure the new central midfielder he wants to Etihad in the transfer window.

That shouldn’t be the only newcomer. As always, there appears to be a vacancy at full-back ahead of next season.

Benjamin Mendy’s court trial for alleged sex offenses is scheduled to begin in late July.

With one year left on his existing contract, it seems unthinkable that he will play for City again.

Pep has used Joao Cancelo, Oleksandr Zinchenko and Nathan Ake to fill the gap but none of them are specialists in the position.

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Planning for next season is already underway.

Guardiola has spoken in the past about how the best start thinking about the next trophy as soon as they step out of the shower. He wants to be sure that this team continues to develop.

https://www.the-sun.com/sport/football/premier-league/5406064/guardiola-man-city-sterling-jesus-mahrez-contract/ Guardiola faces big decisions about his Man City legends as Sterling, Jesus and Mahrez enter the final years of their contracts

Aila Slisco

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