Man City’s dilemma in the defence department, and the person who can solve it

By Chris Smith, Mon 30 March 2020 10:39

Man City’s dilemma in the defence department, and the person who can solve itBayern Munich’s David Alaba linked with Guardiola reunion

Ever since Pep Guardiola’s arrival at Etihad in 2016, he has worked tirelessly to build a football squad that’s not only feared in Europe, but all over the world. It has elite-level players in all the positions except left back.

One of the reasons why Manchester City hasn’t been able to permanently get a quality player in that position can be put down to pure bad luck. They had signed Benjamin Mendy in 2017, but injuries restricted his participation, and he could get no more than 31 appearances for the club in the Premier League. In his absence, Guardiola tried many alternatives including Oleksandr Zinchenko, Danilo, Joao Cancelo, Aymeric Laporte and Fabian Delph, but none of them looked impactful.

That’s one of the many reasons why Manchester City would be well served by going after Bayern Munich’s David Alaba after the Austrian’s contract gets over in the summer next year. There is a high likelihood that he could be bought for a lesser fee too. The latest is that Man City has been offered an Alaba deal in exchange of Leroy Sane, who seems destined to join Bayern Munich soon.

What’s even better is that Guardiola has a working history with Alaba, and both had managed to create a solid relationship last time. While he was still managing Bayern, Guardiola had once referred to Alaba as their God, as the latter had played in almost all the positions on the football pitch for them. Football being the most sought-after amongst all top sports betting markets of the world, speculations have already started floating in this regard.

Alaba and Guardiola go way back

However, interestingly, if David Alaba shows even slightest of keenness in leaving Bayern, Manchester City will need to compete with a good number of offers. Barcelona and Real Madrid have both been eyeing the Austrian, but the opportunity to work with Guardiola once again may be too good for him to pass.

That there is already an open space for Alaba to fit into the team would also serve as a potential selling point for Manchester City. Interestingly, at Bayern Munich, Alaba has been more of a centre-back player and hasn’t played much in the left back position; especially after Alphonso Davies became a mainstay there.

It’s Alaba’s capabilities, and perhaps a result of Guardiola’s coaching that the talented footballer can seamlessly fit into any team’s defence. But it’s definitely not the position that makes the best use of his complete skill set. Looking into the 27 year old’s stats in the current season, it’s clear that he hasn’t played in the left-back position enough number of times. Hence, it might make sense to delve into the 2018-19 season when he played 31 times in left-back position.

Excellent stats

Whenever Alaba plays as a part of the defence he’s always seen comfortable in possessing as well as circulating the ball. His average passes of 56.9 per 90 stood as the second-best for any left back player in Bundesliga, who had featured in at least 10 games of the league. He also has the excellent ability of sending neat deliveries from wide positions.