One of the two inevitabilities in life is death and the fact that Manchester City will have problems at the back. Yes, that was sudden. But nothing is sudden about the issues the Etihad outfit have had to deal with ever since Vincent Kompany ceased to be a regular and Lescott was adjudged to have run his race at a top club in the league.
Ever since that partnership was broken up, City have failed to attain any sort of normalcy at the back. Their all-out attacking tactics have not helped their cause, though. City attack in numbers and more often than not when they are caught on the break, a maximum of 2 players are seen trying their level best to thwart the opposition striker or winger who have acres of space to dribble or use their pace and nullify the hapless City defenders.
The likes of Demichelis and Otamendi were found out in this regard more often than not. City have spent a lot but for some surprising reason, have failed to strike the balance. Mangala was touted as the next big thing but he failed to develop at all over the course of the season.
With Pep Guardiola coming in, there was a lot of speculation and hope that the defence will get a complete makeover. His teams at Barcelona and Bayern Munich were dominant defensively and City were expected to undergo a complete defensive face-lift.
But Laporte rejected the advances and Bonucci also got away leaving John Stones as the only incoming player at the back. And things have gone downhill as far their rearguard is considered. Stones has lost his place in the team with uncertain displays.
Otamendi has been as errant as ever. Impressing one week and then making Pep lose more of his non-existing hair the next. Kompany’s body is being unable to bear the rigours of the league. And Tosin Adarabioyo is too young to be thrust into a backline which is so unsure of itself. And trust us when we say this, Kolarov is not a centre-back.
And hence the reports linking Manchester City with a move for Southampton’s Virgil Van Dijk for a whopping £50m doesn’t come as a surprise at all. The Southampton ace has been tremendous this season and has contributed heavily to their 7th position in the League.
They have conceded the fewest number of shots on goal and have kept 5 clean sheets in the process. His assured presence on the ball and his physique and technical ability makes him an instant choice for the top clubs.
City will do well to pursue their interest, whether it is in January or the summer as the player provides one of the better options in their quest to shore up at the back and at the same time replace Vincent Kompany.