Time waits for no man, not even combative Brazilian midfielders.
Fernandinho deserves to be mentioned alongside the likes of Vincent Kompany, David Silva, Yaya Toure and Sergio Aguero when it comes to modern Man City greats.
However, the 33-year-old is beginning to show the strains of an dynamic career.
Perfectionist Pep Guardiola will be thinking about possible replacements at the base of City’s supremely talented midfield.
Allow us to present seven options… expect varying degrees of likelihood.
FRENKIE DE JONG
The Dutchman is the current darling of Football Twitter.
Two-minute montages of the 21-year-old Dutchman have had hipsters swooning for months now.
A superb ball-carrier with maturity beyond his years, De Jong has been tipped for a move to Barcelona.
The Ajax starlet is capable of playing at centre-back but has impressed in the middle of the park for the most part..
It says a lot about the 21-year-old’s potential that he has featured in France squads since the World Cup.
We’re getting our first proper look at him in the Champions League this season and he has not disappointed so far.
City experienced his abilities first-hand when Lyon won 2-1 at the Etihad in September.
A great decision-maker in possession, only Dimitri Payet and Angel Di Maria have more assists than Ndombele in Ligue 1 this season.
We’re including the German international purely because he has been linked with City for approximately two years.
Injuries have hindered his progression ever since Toni Kroos named Weigl as his long-term successor for Die Mannschaft.
At 6ft 2in tall, the 23-year-old Borussia Dortmund midfielder has the physical attributes to mix it in midfield, as well as all the fancy stuff.
We’re not going to pretend we’ve seen him play. We haven’t.
But we presume the 19-year-old is being tipped for a bright future for reasons other than his fortunate surname.
Busquets is a La Masia graduate who is growing his reputation steadily with Barcelona’s B team as an oasis of calm in a three-man midfield.
But no, he’s not related to Sergio.
Only. Scores. Bangers
Feels right this one, doesn’t it?
Fernandinho’s all-round nature is his best asset — tackling, passing, long-range shooting, sh*thousing… he does it all.
Neves is similarly blessed with multiple attributes and has been touted as a future City player by many fans and pundits.
A natural leader, he captained Porto in the Champions League as an 18-year-old.
When Atletico Madrid signed Rodri from Villarreal many thought Diego Simeone had found his new Gabi.
The 22-year-old Spaniard prides himself on his ability to recover the ball, but he’s no mug in possession either.
Only Ivan Rakitic completed more passes than Rodri in La Liga last season.
Highly rated in Spain, Guardiola will no doubt be aware of his talents.
Woah, way to be controversial Dream Team.
Joshy Kimmich is already one of the best right-backs in the world — a status that rules him out of the list of possible Fernandinho replacements, right?
Don’t be so sure, the Bayern Munich prodigy has already dipped his toe into the midfield waters for both club and country.
There’s a reason he was lined up as the heir to Philipp Lahm’s throne.
Only Thomas Muller provided more assists than Kimmich in the Bundesliga last season.
And his formative years as a right-back would serve him well at defensive midfield, should he make the switch permanent.
Let’s not forget that Guardiola managed Kimmich in his last season as Bayern boss…
So there you have it, seven candidates, who is your preferred choice?
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