Manchester City have previously registered an interest in USA international left-back Antonee Robinson. And after the Fulham star’s display against Liverpool, both defensively and offensively, reigniting their interest in him could prove a masterstroke, especially after recent City performances.
City were famed for having outstanding full-backs operating down both flanks, and even though the system that manager Pep Guardiola has changed over time, they could do with adding a quality left full-back. The club did sign Sergio Gomez, but the twenty-three-year-old has failed to make an impact so far and is often an unused substitute.
The typical approach has been to deploy a centre-back at left-back, such as recent signing Josko Gvardiol or Nathan Ake at left back but having Robinson on the books could add more balance, as well as giving Guardiola more options to play with. And the fact that City have run the rule over Robinson before shows they’re fully aware of what he brings to the table.
Robinson, 26, is one of the Premier League’s fastest players, and he’s capable of still running at full tilt late in games, too. What he showed against Liverpool in Fulham’s narrow defeat is that he’s a left-back who can do both sides of the job. He registered an assist at Anfield and was a constant thorn in Jurgen Klopp’s team’s side, as he repeatedly exploited the space down the left flank vacated by match-winner Trent Alexander-Arnold.
But, as well as being integral to Fulham’s attacking game against Liverpool, where over fifty per cent of the team’s attacks came down Robinson’s flank, the USA international was also tasked with stopping Mo Salah from wreaking havoc. Salah plays on the right of a three-pronged Liverpool attack and will often cut inside on his left foot to do damage, but Robinson nullified him for the most part.
Being able to perform at such a high level against one of the Premier League ’s best teams and while facing one of world football’s top attackers will undoubtedly be something Guardiola and City are keen to see if they are to look Robinson’s way once again. And at twenty-six, he can still get even better, which you can see happening under Guardiola, as it’s happened with so many players over the years.
The drawback could be that after reported interest from other clubs, Fulham tied Robinson down to a new five-year deal in the summer and fans would be betting on the Premier League player staying put in London. That contract runs until 2028, so it would naturally take a significant cash offer from any club wanting to acquire the left-back to bring Fulham to the table. Even then, they wouldn’t be under any pressure to sell one of their star players after they netted big money when allowing Aleksandar Mitrovic to join Al-Hilal in August.
After a run of three straight draws in the Premier League and ten goals conceded, which included four against Chelsea and three against Spurs, Guardiola will likely want to add more quality and options to his defensive department. But how much the Spaniard will have to invest remains to be seen.