Thursday, June 1, 2023

Pep Guardiola Again Shows His Ingenuity As He Solves Manchester City’s Biggest Issue With Just Two Transfers

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Sourav Bhakat
An ardent sports lover who loves to sleep, eat and watch Manchester City play. In that order.

Manchester City will be pretty satisfied with the transfer window they have had thus far. When Pep Guardiola was announced as the manager it was expected there would be wholesale changes to the squad with almost a new eleven being put out by sections of the media. Pep incidentally managed technically strong and some of the best players in the world thus leading a section of the media to believe he would be looking to strengthen his squad considerably before starting to work on the team. But he has given a fair opportunity to almost all the members in the team and while a couple of players might have reservations about this comment, overall it was something not everyone expected.

With City always touted as a free-flowing and attacking team with a creaky defence, it was almost certain as to the area Pep would look to address in the beginning. New full-backs were sure to come, with a couple of centre-backs at least. But we are 1 day away from the close of the window and the only defender through the door has been John Stones from Everton. Pep has backed himself and the players he has inherited as good enough to do the job for him, at least till the next summer comes.

John Stones was expected to come and with the overall age of the defence, irrespective of the quality of the available players, it was a no-brainer. But most surprising has been Pep’s transformation of Kolarov into a central defender. From being a player certain to leave, to being one of the mainstays in the team, the curious case of Kolarov has been one of the perfect illustrations of Pep’s out-of-the-box thinking.


Moving onto midfield, it was one area Pep needed most to refurbish. With Fernando not offering as much dynamism required to be a permanent fixture in a team such as City and Yaya Toure well past his peak, it was Aston Villa man Fabian Delph and Fernandinho to consider. Fernandinho has been tremendous since his signing and was expected to still be an important part of the new set-up. But Pep thought it fit to invest in only one midfielder in the form of Ilkay Gundogan as he again showed his tactical and man-management nous as he decided to apply a formula he had applied more at Bayern than at Barca as he began utilising his full-backs more inside the field in the position of the central defensive midfielders. His decision to set out his team with just Fernandinho as a holding midfielder has nullified the shortage of midfielders at his disposal.

With Pep sorting out the two most problematic areas of the pitch with only two signings it further illustrates the calibre of the manager landed by City.

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