"The table does not lie" is one of football's most repeated clichés and in the case of Manchester City this season, it certainly does not.
Already confirmed champions of the 2017/2018 season, the Sky Blues are leading the table by more than just points, they have scored the most goals, conceded the least, created the most chances among other very impressive stats.
The #SharkTeam has been particularly impressive in its attacking verve and style but much credit should go to the midfield colossus that has been Fernandinho.
The 32-year-old has been the understated glue that has held the team together as his tackling, marking, passing and interceptions have helped the team snuff out many dangerous attacks by the opposition. While Ilkay Gundogan has deputised creditably in the games he has played as the holding midfielder, his skill set is not suitable for such a role.
Guardiola and City's sporting director Txiki Begiristain have reportedly identified some defensive midfielders who could step in and assist Fernandinho, here are five top ones they could be looking at:
#5 Tanguy Ndombele (on loan at Lyon from Angers SCO)
One of the standout talents in Ligue 1 this season, the 21-year-old central midfielder is having a sterling season for a frantic-styled Lyon side and is said to be on the radar of quite a few clubs.
The player has shown the full range of his abilities at the base of the midfield as the holding midfielder in a side that is geared towards high-octane attacking football. A combative and tough tackling midfielder who is also capable of passing and starting attacks in the final third, the 21-year-old more often than not helps the team control matches by winning the ball in deep positions and driving forward to help Lyon push on the attack.
He would help Manchester City in breaking up opposing attacks as Fernandinho does and while he does not yet possess the Brazilian's expertise at picking a pass and shielding the ball, his athleticism and ability to push up will help the team break forward fast and give the chance for the central midfielders to move the ball faster forward.
It is said that Les Gones' president Jean-Michel Aulas already has a £10m loan-to-buy agreement with Angers SCO for the player but City's financial clout and the respect which Guardiola's name commands could swing the deal the Cityzens' way.