Manchester City have had a difficult start to the season under Pep Guardiola with the media glare and the pundit’s criticism increasing day by day as the Catalan’s methods are proving difficult for the players to adjust to. The Sky Blues started off in an emphatic manner and won their first 10 games under Pep. But a 3-3 draw against Celtic stopped the sequence and other than a win against Barcelona in their 2nd leg at Etihad Stadium, they haven’t looked the same.
The players keep falling back in the same rut they did last season and have looked bereft of desire and drive at times this season and that trait has not gone down well with the gaffer who demands the maximum from his players.
It was expected that there will be a massive overhaul of the squad after he took over from Pellegrini but he has refrained from doing so this season. The likes of Kolarov and Navas have been used extensively and while they did get off to an encouraging start, the level has gone down drastically.
Pep has been visibly frustrated lately and it is evident that things are not going according to his blueprint. He prefers a certain type of midfielder and his previous teams in Barcelona and Bayern Munich have always had technically brilliant midfielders who have a very high level of control and dexterity on the ball.
Although Fernandinho and Fernando are capable midfielders, they are nowhere close to the level needed to implement his philosophy. Hence, the signing of Gundogan was seen as a step in that direction. He was considered as one of the best midfielders in Germany before injuries plagued his progress. And the same has been the case at City.
With Fernando expected to move on in the summer and Yaya Toure reaching the twilight of his career, it is imperative that Guardiola adds to his midfield options. Fernandinho has been a consistent player for them but his recent disciplinary issues and the fact that he is 31-years old, does open up the need for a long-term successor.
City have been linked with a number of players, mainly midfielders in the recent past but one name which has cropped up in most of the discussions involving them has been that of Julian Weigl of Borussia Dortmund. According to the report, Pep Guardiola has ordered the director of football at Manchester City Txiki Begiristain to push through a deal for the German.
The 21-year-old is rated as one of German football’s hottest prospects and has already been capped four times for Die Mannschaft. Pep was apparently frustrated when he went unnoticed by Bayern Munich scouts and ended up at Dortmund. He has been an admirer for a long time and it is no surprise that he has been strongly linked with the Sky Blues.
His passing prowess will hold him in good stead in Guardiola’s midfield and due to his age, he will have a huge scope of improvement. His concentration and his ability to dictate the pace of the game is a crucial aspect of his repertoire. Guardiola has shown an affinity of working with young talent and mould them into better players.
He will get the opportunity and the facilities to do so at the Etihad. City’s lack of dynamism in the centre of the park has been an issue for them and for the former Barcelona manager to succeed in England he needs to get the likes of Weigl to come in.