Lionel Messi, Harry Winks, John Stones: 6 players Manchester City should sign, 4 they should cut loose in the transfer window

Potential recruits on manager Pep Guardiola's transfer list

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It doesn't take a genius to work out where things went wrong for Manchester City last season.

A team that outscored champions Liverpool by 17 goals in the Premier League was often let down by a defence that conceded 35 goals in 38 games, losing nine matches to Liverpool's three.

Defensive reinforcements seem inevitable, with the likes of Kalidou Koulibaly and Diego Carlos linked with moves to the Etihad.

Perhaps the most intriguing transfer gossip concerns players higher up the pitch, though.

City are said to be primed to offer Lionel Messi the chance to bring down the curtain on his long-time association with Barcelona following a spectacular falling out with the club board after a disappointing season.

Could City swap one Argentine legend for another? The club are reportedly mulling over offering record scorer Sergio Aguero a new contract but have also been linked with Messi and another compatriot: Lautaro Martinez of Inter Milan.

Should City land either, it may precipitate a parting of the ways with a player who will go down in City folklore.

Take a look at the potential ins and out at City in the picture gallery above. To move on to the next image, swipe or click on the arrows.