Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Manchester City Set To Rival Chelsea For This Full-Back: What Will He Add To Guardiola’s Team?

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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 tweet posted by journalist Lucas Scagliola (cited by Manchester Evening News), Manchester City have entered the race to secure the services of Ajax left-back Nicolás Tagliafico. The same source has also mentioned that the Citizens will face competition from Chelsea in pursuit of the Argentine defender.

Tagliafico’s Productive Spell At The Johan Cruijff ArenA

The 27-year-old has enjoyed a fruitful couple of years at Ajax since his big move from Independentiente at the start of 2018. He has continued to perform at a high level this season after putting in a string of productive displays from the left side of Erik ten Hag’s defence. Tagliafico has scored five goals and provided seven assists in 38 matches for the Eredivisie outfit this term across all fronts which highlight his growing influence at the Amsterdam club.

The Argentine international’s form in the UEFA Champions League has been nothing short of sensational after he averaged 4.5 tackles, 3.0 interceptions, 2.7 clearances, 1.0 key passes and 0.8 dribbles per game in the six group-stage matches he has been involved in this season (stats via whoscored).

Tagliafico has earned 25 senior caps for the Argentine national team but is yet to open his goal-scoring account for his nation. He will be expected to play a crucial role for his country in the next edition of Copa America, which is scheduled to kick off in the summer of 2021.

Nicolas Tagliafico of Ajax in action during the UEFA Champions League group H match between AFC Ajax and Valencia CF at Amsterdam Arena on December 10, 2019, in Amsterdam, Netherlands. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

What Will The South American Sensation Add To Guardiola’s Side?

Tagliafico can use his quickness to make some lung-bursting dribbles down the left flank. He is a reliable defender at the back and can make some vital interceptions for his side. The Argentine is also not afraid to put his body on the line when attempting to block a shot and is also a commanding presence in the air. He is primarily a left-back but can even fill in as a centre-back if required. His incredible versatility, coupled with his all-round game at left-back, makes him a perfect fit for Pep Guardiola’s side.

The Ajax defensive ace will not only be a significant upgrade over Benjamin Mendy but also offer more natural width down the left side of the Citizens backline. Mendy has failed to live up to the high expectations surrounding his move to the Etihad Stadium. Therefore, it’s high time that Guardiola gave up on him and signed a quality left-back like Tagliafico this summer.

Both Oleksandr Zinchenko and Joao Cancelo can also play in that position but has often lacked consistency with their performances this season. With Man City facing the possibility of a two-year ban from all UEFA competitions, it won’t be easy for them to convince the Ajax star to give up on European football by making a switch to the blue half of Manchester ahead of the new season. Despite all odds, if the Mancunian giants can find a way to pull off such a high-profile transfer, then it will go a long way in helping them bridge the gap to Liverpool at the pinnacle of English football.

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