Manchester City and defensive issues- a recurring theme which has become synonymous with them. A clean sheet is a surprise while a goal from a defender is a shock. Traditionally, the big teams should have a number of clean sheets and in the physical nature of the Premier League, goals by centre-halves, especially from set-pieces, are a common occurrence. But unfortunately, the Sky Blues have lacked both completely this season.
Pep Guardiola failed to bring in Laporte and Bonucci and had to settle for John Stones as the only addition at centre-back. It was expected Vincent Kompany would have a better season in terms of injuries but it has not been the case. Kolarov is apparently their first choice at left centre-back and the groans his name on the teamsheet evokes tells the story. Considering all the factors, it is Otamendi who is looking their best bet at the back. And it shows that City have not really advanced as far as their defence is concerned.
Pep’s inclination towards versatile players and his propensity to convert defenders into centre-backs was probably the reason they had initially decided not to sign anyone else till the summer.
But the development graph of Stones and Otamendi’s affinity to the grass just outside the penalty box sees the manager admit that they are indeed looking for further options.
And the name which has been strongly linked with the English club has been that of Holger Badstuber. Badstuber played under Pep for 3 years and is primarily a centre-half who can play as a fullback. Late Christmas gift for Pep, eh?
‘We are evaluating if there is a chance, a possibility, to take one. I know Holger, he’s a fantastic player, a fantastic guy, but he’s a Bayern Munich player. Ofcourse, first of all we should speak with them, with him. Now, on the table, there are no names, because there were a lot of games. Now we have 10 days off, until Everton game.’
Badstuber is a homegrown product of the Bavarian club and made his first-team debut in the 2009 season at the age of 19.
He became a first-team regular before suffering his devastating cruciate ligament injury in the first half of a 1-1 draw with Borussia Dortmund in 2012.
Badstuber sat out the following season, and then played 15 times in 2014-15 — but struggled with various further injuries. His latest one in a series has been the ankle break in February and he has played thrice this season.
The German is strong in the air and most importantly is good with the ball at his feet. He is comfortable at centre-back and left-back and having prior knowledge of working with Pep, it will be a smooth transition.
It is touted as a loan deal and considering the fact that both sides don’t want a permanent deal at this moment, it just might be one of the few things which might fall into place seamlessly for Guardiola.