Talks of a proverbial return to Manchester City is the ripe subject surrounding AS Monaco’s Rony Lopes. After watching his former teammate, Bernardo Silva, succeed at the highest level of European football, Lopez said, “I’m happy for Bernardo, he’s a friend and seeing what he’s been doing in recent games with Manchester City is a very good thing.”
“A return to City? Sure I would like to go back, but I am focused on Monaco. I’m fine here. I’m very happy for him and I hope he’ll continue to do beautiful things there.”
It would not be the first time we will witness the exit of City youngsters due to a lack of first-team opportunities. This season alone Pep Guardiola has faced heavy criticism due to his reluctance to field any of the academy players or even calling them up for a matchday squad.
Lopes himself had to leave when Raheem Sterling was signed for £49m from Liverpool in the summer of 2015. The attacking midfielder did manage to attract interest from the Ligue 1 side but it took a fair bit of time before he could get going in the French top division.
The 22-year-old is one of the underrated options in the Monaco lineup who has quietly racked up impressive numbers for the Red and Whites this season. 40 total appearances will give you an understanding of the importance of Lopes’ role under Leonardo Jardim.
The Brazilian has taken over the right wing with his quick dribbles and offensive intelligence, not to mention the sudden bursts of pace he implements into his game. Lopes is adaptable to different positions as well which makes him a manager’s gem when games need to be addressed with superior tactical understanding.
It would be foolish to ignore Lopes’ superior footballing education in the Premier League, which has played a factor in his promising career. With Thomas Lemar tagged at a higher price, Lopes will be a far cheaper option despite him carrying a better record than his French teammate in the current campaign.
When Leroy Sane went down to an ankle injury, Pep was faced with a major scare in terms of their quadruple challenge and he wanted to bring in a quality replacement in the January window. A move for Leicester City’s Riyad Mahrez fell through in the dying moments of the deadline day while Alexis Sanchez too had slipped off the manager’s hands.
Pep wants to keep furthering the talent level of the City squad even if they win major honours this season and Lopes will be the perfect fit for his requirements.
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