Manchester City have been dealt a huge blow with Fernandinho facing another 4 games on the sidelines after a two-footed lunge saw him sent off, which made it 3 red cards for the apparently calm midfielder in his last 6 games. Much like Manchester City, the midfielder’s season has turned sour after an excellent start. He hasn’t been playing at his level lately and the red cards have added to his frustration. The disquiet and the uneasiness at the club is coming to the surface which was quite evident in Pep Guardiola’s post-match comments.
The players are not helping matters while the British press is making things as uncomfortable as possible for the Catalan. With Gundogan already out for the season and the nature of Fernandinho’s recent displays, a midfielder has to be on top of Pep’s shopping list in January. He has been adamant to an extent but he might have to add to his squad as early as this month.
The midfield is the nerve-centre of his teams and he cannot possibly hope to claw back a deficit of 10 points with Fernando and Delph in midfield.
Let us take a look at 3 alternatives Pep Guardiola might look at in light of the recent events-
He has surprisingly nuanced technical ability despite primarily being a defensive midfielder. He is a tackle-first, front-footed shielding midfielder, preferring to attack the ball than wait for the game to play out in front of him.
He has already proved himself at Stoke City and was awarded the club’s Player of the Season and Players’ Player of the Season prizes at the end of 2014/15—a just reward for a player so integral to Stoke’s best-ever Premier League campaign.
The Frenchman racked up a total of 195 top-flight appearances during his time at Blackburn and Stoke so would need no time to adapt to the division.
The 21-year-old is rated as one of German football’s hottest prospects and has already been capped four times for Die Mannschaft. He is all of 19, but standing at 6’1, he will be a perfect long-term option for the Sky Blues.
His passing range is astounding for his age and his awareness of the play around him along with his power to remain concentrated makes him stand out.
PLAY KEVIN DE BRUYNE IN A WITHDRAWN ROLE
Pep Guardiola has utilised the Belgian all over the pitch this season and the Catalan’s nature of mixing it up is well-documented. Pep Guardiola has gone with almost 7 attacking players in his team at times and he is not afraid of playing one of the finest attackers in the Premier League in midfield.
De Bruyne’s pace is not his strongest point and his ability to pick out passes and facilitate counterattacks will hold him in good stead. A midfield with Yaya Toure and De Bruyne with Fernando providing cover will provide sufficient balance to the team in Fernandinho’s absence.