'One of the best three midfielders in world' Fernandinho closes on new deal

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has hailed Fernandinho as "one of the best three holding midfielders in the world" with the Brazilian close to signing a new deal, sources have told ESPN FC.

Fernandinho, 32, is out of contract at the end of the season but sources told ESPN FC that Fernandinho wants to extend his stay at the Etihad Stadium.

And Guardiola is also keen for him to remain after the midfielder was in the first XI all of City's Premier League and Champions League games during their impressive start to the season.

"I think right now Fernandinho is one of the best three holding midfielders in the world," Guardiola told a news conference ahead of Sunday's clash with Arsenal. "Fernandinho has achieved another level with his positivity and his mentality. He gives us a lot, with the ball and without the ball in terms of many things we need to compete.

"Last season we cannot forget that Fernandinho played as a full-back many times with no complaints and he asked how can he improve. When this happens and you have a lot of players in your squad with this mentality you can dream to win games."

Fernandinho joined City from Ukrainian side Shakhtar Donetsk in June 2013 and won the title in his first season at the club. But his confidence took a dip following Brazil's humiliating exit from the World Cup, when they were beaten 7-1 by Germany in Rio de Janeiro.

The former Atletico Paranaense player has been back to his very best this season and Guardiola agrees that he doesn't always get enough credit.

"All the managers know the value of this kind of player -- maybe the media don't talk too much about them or how important they are," the City boss added. "What I like most about this kind of player is that normally they don't care [about that] too much. "They are happy in the group, in the locker room -- Fernandinho and for example David [Silva], these kind of players, they enjoy that situation."

Meanwhile, Guardiola said Arsenal should not be ruled out as title rivals with the Gunners having the opportunity to cut their gap on City to six points with a win at the Etihad Stadium.

"It's no points difference, in that period it's nothing," Guardiola added. "People consider we are going to play in this way for the rest of the season, if that happens I can tell you we have a big chance to be champions but nobody can assure you of that."