Friday, March 31, 2023

Transfer Fees, Ball Playing Defenders And Value- Topics That Come With This Manchester City Target

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Arka Tarun Mukherjee
Arsenal fan and football expert, Arka Tarun Mukherjee actually used to play cricket at semi pro level. An ardent student of football tactics, ATM is very passionate about the tactical aspects of the game and has a dream of being a football manager in the future.

Pep Guardiola will be at the helm of Manchester City for the upcoming season and like every other manager he has also identified his transfer targets and has already closed some of those deals. One of the biggest weaknesses of City has been their defensive line. The Citizens defence doesn’t seem to inspire confidence in the absence of Vincent Kompany and Eliaquim Mangala hasn’t proved to be the player his price tag suggests. City have suffered from some bad business overpaying for defenders who are not at the elite level yet and their shortcomings at the back have affected their title bid under Manuel Pellegrini.

Guardiola wants to change that and make sure that he gets the right players in the right place. John Stones has been identified by the former Barcelona manager as a potential target and City are keen to secure his services for the coming season from Everton. John Stones has been one of the most impressive players of Everton as he excelled under manager Roberto Martinez. Even though Martinez’s woeful defensive record has been the main reason behind him getting the sack last season, in his three years at Goodison, Stones did play in a number of formations which included both a 4 man as well as a 3 man defence.

Everton, under Martinez, lost a total of 48 points from winning positions and their ability to not hold onto a lead would certainly point to the fact that the backline was very fragile. However, given those stats, the duo of Phil Jagielka and John Stones can still hold their heads high as they really were pretty solid whenever they played for the Toffees (considering the lack of protection in midfield).

One of the main features of any Guardiola’s team has been the ball playing defenders. The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich coach has always emphasized on building attacks from the back and his tiki-taka philosophy demands players who are comfortable with the ball at their feet. Stones certainly can play like that and the young defender is also surprisingly composed while playing out from the back.

Playing in the 3 man defence setup for Everton, the English defender has shown his ability on the ball already in the previous seasons. Now, most importantly, let’s talk about his defending. Stones is still young and is going through a learning curve, but he has shown that he has the qualities to be an established defender. He reads the game wonderfully well and can be a real handful in the tackle. His performances of last season against Chelsea where he absolutely dominated the powerful and aggressive Diego Costa was a testament to the ability as well as the mentality of the player. Thus, Stones fits the profile who can certainly play under Guardiola and it was one of the several reasons why The Citizens were so interested in the transfer.

Having said that, recent reports have confirmed that after their latest bid of £40m was rejected by Everton, Manchester City are not keen to go any higher and meet the £50m valuation that The Toffees are holding out for the player. It has to be accepted that now we live in a world where the player wages and transfer fees being paid are bordering close to lunacy. The entire structure of player valuation has been suddenly inflated like a balloon filled with Hydrogen gone out of hand and nobody knows where it will stop. When clubs start to even consider let alone propose offers like £95m plus Tony Kroos for Paul Pogba, one can easily predict that the end is near and to be honest even according to that market, John Stones being valued at £50m seems a bit excessive.

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