This is why Brighton's £50m Lewis Dunk is on Pep Guardiola's wanted list at Manchester City

Just when you thought it was safe from transfer rumours and speculation, Manchester City are very interested in Brighton and Hove Albion skipper Lewis Dunk.

Friday, 7th February 2020, 1:40 pm
Updated Friday, 7th February 2020, 2:22 pm
Brighton and Hove Albion skipper Lewis Dunk continues to be linked with the Premier League giants - this time Manchester City

Dunk, 28, was continually linked to a £50m move to Chelsea throughout the January transfer window - described as "utter rubbish" and "never going to happen" by many club officials at Albion.

However, as is the nature of modern football, as soon as one window closes, talk of the next begins and Dunk is clearly a player in demand and a man capable of improving most top six defences in the Premier League.

Manchester City's shaky rearguard has cost them a shot at defending their title this season and it's an area their manager Pep Guardiola wants to address.

Pep Guardiola has seen his Manchester City side struggle defensively this season

Their influential captain and centre back Vincent Kompany left the Etihad last season and Guardiola's team have already conceded six more Premier League goals than all of the 2018/19 campaign.

The Times, this week reported Dunk, who is contracted to the Seagulls until 2023, is one of their key targets. It is rarely that straight forward however and City are also said to be keen on Villarreal's Pau Torres, Ruben Dias of Benfica and Inter Milan's Milan Skriniar.

It's a situation that could see England defender John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi depart the Etihad. Stones has started just 10 Premier League games so far this season, having struggled with a thigh injury but also by failing to convince Guardiola that he warrants selection.

A swap deal for Stones would be good for Albion but maybe ambitious.

Lewis Dunk makes a last ditch tackle against Manchester City at the Etihad

Brighton may well have been planning and bracing themselves for Dunk's departure this summer. They do have options in defence and much will depend on Albion's summer recruitment and if they can keep Ben White, who has attracted interest from Liverpool and Tottenham.

White has been in fine form during his loan spell at Leeds in the Championship and many feel he would be an excellent fit for Graham Potter's forward thinking style of play at the Amex.

White, 22, progressed through the youth ranks at Brighton and is a strong defender but also comfortable on the ball and able to pick a pass going forward - similar to Dunk.

Shane Duffy and Adam Webster - signed for £20m from Bristol City last summer - are also on long term deals and left-sided defender Dan Burn agreed a new contract until 2023 earlier this season.

Defender Matt Clarke also signed from Portsmouth last summer and is gaining valuable experience in the Championship with Derby.

There is no question losing Dunk in the summer would be a sizeable blow for Albion but if - and it remains a big if - it did happen, then this summer could be as good as time as any.

Firstly, and most importantly, the captain has a huge role to play in keeping Albion in the Premier. If he does and then decides it's time to test himself at the very highest level, then few would grudge him that chance.