Monday, December 5, 2022

Manchester City Track Jorginho Alternative In 24 Y/O Southampton Man: Right Man For Guardiola?

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Bishwaraj Bhattacharyya
Former athlete. Now a journalist hoping to cover football no matter the league or country.

Manchester City are up against heavy resistance from SSC Napoli for midfield enforcer, Jorginho. The Serie A outfit are unwilling to let the 26-year-old leave for cheap and this has forced Pep Guardiola to turn his attention towards Premier League’s very own Mario Lemina. The Southampton man plays in the exact same position as Jorginho and could be available at a much cheaper rate, this summer.

Guardiola just got upstaged for a second time by his long-time rival, Jose Mourinho this week as Manchester United announced the signing of Fred from Shakhtar Donetsk. The Red Devils dished out £52m to beat out their next-door rivals in the close-fought race.

Mourinho got the better of the City boss earlier in the 2017/18 campaign as well when he signed Alexis Sanchez from Arsenal on an exchange deal. Now Guardiola will have to find able replacements, especially after witnessing the departure of Yaya Toure from the side.

Fernandinho alone cannot be relied upon for an entirety of a regular season, let alone for all competitive games across multiple competitions. The defensive midfielder is 33 now and is coming off a draining double-winning campaign.

Ilkay Gundogan is not a like for like replacement in the position and City will find it hard to replicate their previous season feats without a deep enough squad. Lemina will not only be able to fill in as a backup, given his age and past season displays, he could grow into a prestigious starter within a couple of years.

The 24-year-old played an instrumental role in Southampton’s battle for survival in the 2017/18 campaign. He came out on top to make 29 total appearances despite facing stiff competition from the likes of Oriol Romeu and Pierre-Emile Højbjerg.

Lemina contributed with one goal and one assist to prove his worth in his debut Premier League season. He transferred from Juventus last summer for a club record £15.4m fee after failing to make the grade for the Serie A champions.

The 11-time Gabon international played his formative years for the France national team and even has 7 caps for their U20 and U21 teams. He has brought a bout of defensive rigidity into the Saints squad with the added skill of initiating the team’s offence.

Lemina was even allowed to play in a more attacking role under Mark Hughes last season which allowed us to notice his versatile strength. He has already been vetted in the English system and looks ready to meet the standards of a title-winning squad.

Read More: Southampton Boss Keen On Reuniting With This Stoke City Winger: Why They Need Him!

Guardiola should take a chance on the 24-year-old rather than spending exorbitant amounts on high profile European names.

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