The 23-year-old Argentine has previously stoked the flames of an overseas move, with City Football Group’s global scouting network rating the Golden Boot presented by Audi winner and 2021 MLS Best XI talent.
"I think he is a guy who will do the next step in Europe," Guardiola said in a press conference Monday. "What I saw when the scouting department talked to me, I know he's a quality player and ready to make the next step to Europe and we will see where."
Castellanos tallied 19 goals and eight assists during the regular season, then had three goals in as many Audi 2021 MLS Cup Playoffs games. It was a true breakout year for Castellanos, whose absence in the Eastern Conference Final reinforced his importance to head coach Ronny Deila’s team.
NYCFC may not be in a rush to move Castellanos, though, after he signed a five-year contract extension (through 2025) this past May. That came on the heels of transfer interest from Brazilian side and back-to-back Copa Libertadores winners Palmeiras.
Should Castellanos head to Manchester City, he’d be the third player in recent years to make an MLS-to-Premier League jump at the Etihad Stadium. US men’s national team goalkeeper Zack Steffen went from the Columbus Crew to Guardiola’s side, while former NYCFC winger Jack Harrison shifted to the reigning EPL champions before loans to Leeds United turned into a permanent move.
At striker, Manchester City currently boast Brazil national team star Gabriel Jesus. Beyond him, a rotating cast of attacking players have slotted into the No. 9 role among tactical variations.