Thursday, October 6, 2022

Manchester City Face Fierce Competition In Pursuit Of This Serie A Midfielder: Is He Worth The Fight?

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Abhinab Ghosh
A 26-year-old sports writer and an aspiring football coach who has road-tripped across the Scottish Highlands, but has never been to Wales. Sucker for cliff-hangers and catchy riffs. Known to be a grunger and not to be a stranger.

According to a recent report by The Daily Express, both Real Madrid and Barcelona will rival Manchester City in the race to secure the signature of Napoli midfielder Fabian Ruiz this summer. It is believed that the Citizens are showing interest in recruiting the £80m-rated Spanish midfielder. Still, the uncertainty of a potential two-year ban from UEFA competitions could make life difficult for Pep Guardiola in the transfer market (via The Daily Express).

Ruiz’s Impressive Spell In Naples

Ruiz has been a regular feature at the heart of the Napoli midfield this season and is currently one of the first names in Gennaro Gattuso’s teamsheet. He has featured in 30 matches for the Naples-based outfit this term, scoring three goals and providing two assists in all competitions. The Portuguese midfielder will be disappointed with his goal and assists tally, but there is no denying that he has been an influential presence at both ends of the pitch.

Ruiz’s impressive performances against Liverpool in the UEFA Champions League this season sheds light on what he is all about on the pitch. He is generally accurate with his passing and can also make vital interceptions for his side as well.

If we delve deep into his stats, Ruiz has averaged 1.7 tackles, 1.2 interceptions, 2.4 shots, 1.5 key passes and 1.2 dribbles per game in the Serie A which explains why so many top clubs are looking to land him in the summer (stats via whoscored). The 26-year-old has also earned six international caps for the Spanish national side, netting one goal in the process. If the ex-Real Betis playmaker can continue to perform at a high level, then he could be in line to play a crucial role for his nation in this summer’s UEFA Euro 2020.

What Makes The Spaniard Such A Highly Sought After Talent?

Ruiz has mostly been deployed in central midfield, but he has the intelligence to fill in down the left flank or in the number ten position if required. His versatility, coupled with all-around ability to leave a positive impression at both ends of the field, make him an invaluable asset for Napoli. The Spaniard is an excellent distributor of the ball and is also a potent goal-threat from long range. However, the defensive side of his game is quite under-rated as he excels at making well-timed tackles to win the ball back for his team.

Ruiz has all the skillset required to make a seamless transition to Guardiola’s style of play at the Etihad Stadium. He has the potential to form an unstoppable midfield partnership alongside Rodri and Kevin De Bruyne at the heart of the Citizens midfield. Guardiola often relies on the 4-3-3 formation so he will benefit from signing the Serie A playmaker as he will give him more flexibility as far as formation and tactics are concerned in the coming years.

Should Man City Fight For Ruiz’s Signature This Summer?

If Man City can find a way to cope with the financial fair play regulations, then they should consider going all out to sign Ruiz in the off-season. The Spanish midfielder will be well-worth the fight but the lack of European football for two years puts the Mancunian giants at a significant disadvantage. However, if the Court of Arbitration for Sport decides to lift or reduce their ban in the future, then it could open the door for the Citizens to land the Napoli sensation.

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