Nelson Semedo is poised to snub Manchester City this summer - Cancelo's future could be key.
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - MARCH 08: Joao Cancelo of Manchester City reacts during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Manchester City at Old Trafford on March 08, 2020 in Manchester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Spanish outlet Marca claims that Barcelona have offered Manchester City a chance to sign Nélson Semedo in a deal that would see João Cancelo move the other way. However, the Manchester club have rejected the offer. A swap deal involving the two Portuguese stars do surprise us a little, and therefore we try to analyse the piece of business from the Barca point of view.

What made City purchase Cancelo?

Kyle Walker had been performing decently at the right-back position for the English champions, and nobody could actually complain about his output. Despite that, last summer Pep thought of spending a massive amount of money on the then Juventus defender, and that can be attributed to a couple of reasons.

The possession-based football that Guardiola has been advocating for his entire managerial career demands winning back the ball from the opposition players when the ball is lost. The blistering pace that Cancelo offers is a step towards that direction since he can restrain any counter-attack of the opponents. That also helps the team get back into position and set themselves for pressing, which is a crucial component of Guardiola’s style of play.

Offensively Cancelo is very similar to another of City’s defender, Mendy. He has a knack for going out to wide areas and crossing the ball to the attackers, after successfully taking on the opposition defence. With Cancelo and Mendy at either side, City could have theoretically emulated the combination of Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson, who have made Liverpool such a dangerous outfit going forward.

Nelson Semedo of FC Barcelona reacts during the Liga match between Granada CF and FC Barcelona at Estadio Nuevo Los Carmenes on September 21, 2019 in Granada, Spain. (Photo by Aitor Alcalde/Getty Images)

Another factor that must have played on Pep’s mind at that time is the fact that Bernardo Silva had been plying his trade with Cancelo for a long time, and with the Portuguese in the right-back area, Silva could have had a chance to excel at the right-wing position.

The reality

It is often said man proposes, God disposes. The case with João Cancelo hasn’t been much different either. The 25-year-old has miserably failed to dislodge Walker out of the team and has just started in 8 Premier League matches for the blue part of Manchester this term. While his uninspiring performances can be blamed upon the first-season jitters, it has also been stated by many that ex Barcelona man’s brand of football has not suited him. This is where Barca must be aware as the Cules haven’t altogether deviated from the style of football that Guardiola instilled in them during his tenure in charge of the team.

The qualities of Nélson Semedo

Cancelo’s counterpart in the national side has undoubtedly not been Barca’s answer to Dani Alves. The attacking output of the Brazilian is hard to match, and it is fair to say that their interest in Cancelo could be because of their elusive search of a replacement to the legendary right-back. However, what Semedo offers defensively is exceptionally vital to the team and replacing him with Cancelo may take a toll on their defence. His composure and his efficiency in 1v1 situations are praise-worthy, and a quick look at the figures would reveal that.

In his 21 league appearances this season, Semedo has made two tackles and 0.7 clearances per 90 minutes. Many believe that with time, the Barca man could go on to become one of the best in the world in his position defensively and it is just not the moment for Setien to swap him with a player whose performances and adaptability have been questionable, to say the least.

Stats from Whoscored.