The full-back position in the modern game is a vital role. In the past, it may not have been regarded as an important position.
However, the role has developed with modern bosses seeing the benefits of having full-backs that can get up and down the field with grace and ease.
One of those bosses is Manchester City’s, Pep Guardiola. At Barcelona and Bayern Munich, he had top players in the full-back positions.
At Barcelona, for years he had Brazilian flier Daniel Alves, while at Bayern he had David Alaba and Philip Lahm at his disposal.
Surprisingly the Catalan boss did not add to his full-back options last summer. The surprise was because City’s Gael Clichy, Bacary Sagna, Alexander Kolarov and Pablo Zabaleta were all in the twilight of their careers.
Guardiola gave the City full-backs chances to prove themselves. Unfortunately for Sagna, Clichy and Zabaleta, they failed to impress and all three failed to secure contract extensions this summer.
English full-backs heading to City
Having released three of the four senior full-backs at the club in the summer, Guardiola needed to sign replacements.
City had been heavily linked with a big-money move for exciting Monaco left-back Benjamin Mendy. However, it seems the Citizens could not reach an agreement with the French champions over a fee for the 22-year-old.
Sky Sports are now reporting that Guardiola has now turned his attention to Southampton full-back Ryan Bertrand. No official bid has been made for the former Chelsea full-back, but Sky claims that the Citizens could sign both Bertrand and Tottenham’s Kyle Walker in the next two weeks.
England international Walker has become one of the most highly-rated full-backs in the Premier League over the last few years. He has also become a key player at Tottenham in the last few seasons.
However, the former Sheffield United star is reportedly hoping for a move back to the north after spending the last eight years in London with Spurs.
Moves would significantly improve City team
One of the weak spots of Manchester City, when they played a back four last season, was their full-backs. Clichy, Sagna and Zabaleta have all been great servants to the club. However, the trio are not up to the standard that City need to challenge at home and abroad.
The Citizens need full-backs that will get up and down all day long. A good boss identifies weaknesses and strengthens. Guardiola has the luxury of having tremendous financial resources available to him to do just that.
When fit, Bertrand is one of the best left-backs in the Premier League. At Southampton, he is unlikely to achieve much, but with City, he will be playing in the Champions League and more than likely challenging for the Premier League title.
For me, Walker is better going forward than he is defending. However, his defensive attributes are good enough to make a massive impact at City next season. One drawback to signing Walker will be that Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy is a notoriously tough negotiator. With City financial resources it looks unlikely to matter, though.
One advantage of signing Bertrand and Walker would be that the pair helps their homegrown quota for the Champions League. Another advantage of having the English duo is the fact that they would be ideal to play in the wing-back roles if of course Guardiola ever decided to play three at the back.
Guardiola determined for an improvement next season
Manchester City already have strong attacking players. Pep Guardiola has obviously identified the team’s weaknesses in defence and is determined for the team to improve on last season’s third place in the Premier League.
The Citizens are already the favourites to win the Premier League at odds of 15/8 next season. However, without defensive reinforcements that seems unlikely to happen, as they will continually be exposed at the back.
It seems Guardiola knows what players he wants and by the end of the summer transfer window the big Manchester City jigsaw will be complete. The team that will start the season will no doubt be better and stronger next season.
However, there are still no guarantees that the Citizens will win the title. Only time will tell if Guardiola will be able to complete the biggest challenge of his managerial career so far and turn City into a footballing force to be reckoned with.
Would Kyle Walker and Ryan Bertrand be good signings for City?
- Soccer News Like
- Be the first of your friends!