Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Manchester City Keen On Recruiting Barcelona Full-Back: What Will He Bring To The Etihad Stadium?

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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.

In Monday’s print edition of Sport (transcripted and translated by Sport Witness), it has been claimed that Manchester City are keen on recruiting Nelson Semedo from Barcelona this summer. The same source had also mentioned that there is growing interest in the Portuguese full-back and ‘everything indicates’ his next club will be Man City (via Sport Witness). However, it is believed that both clubs are still quite far from agreeing to a potential transfer involving Semedo later this summer (via Sport).

Catalunya Ràdio has also backed the claim of Pep Guardiola’s interest in acquiring the services of the Barca defender. Still, it has also been reported that the Citizens could face competition from Inter Milan, Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain in pursuit of the player in this off-season.

Semedo’s Impressive Season At The Nou Camp

The Lisboa-born talent has produced a string of eye-catching displays for the Catalan giants during this campaign. He has featured in 29 matches for the Spanish outfit this term and has got five assists to show for his efforts across all competitions. His numbers highlight his creative influence down the right flank which has made him such a crucial member of Quique Setien’s squad.

Semedo has averaged 2.0 tackles, 0.8 interceptions, 0.7 clearances and 1.4 dribbles in every 90 minutes of league football this season (stats via whoscored). He boasts a slightly better record in Europe after averaging 3.4 tackles, 1.4 interceptions, 1.6 clearances and 1.8 dribbles per game in the UEFA Champions League so far (stats via whoscored).

The 26-year-old has also earned 14 senior caps for the Portuguese national team but is still waiting to net his first goal for his country. He will be expected to play a vital role for Fernando Santos’ side in next year’s UEFA European Championship finals.

Manchester City keen on recruiting Nelson Semedo who can be seen in the photo
Nelson Semedo of FC Barcelona looks on during the La Liga match between Sevilla FC and FC Barcelona at Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan on February 23, 2019 in Seville, Spain. (Photo by Aitor Alcalde/Getty Images)

What Will The Portugal International Bring To The Etihad Stadium?

Semedo can use his blistering pace and agility to make some penetrative runs with the ball out on the wide areas. He boasts excellent ball control and dribbling ability to cause a lot of problems for the opposition. The Portuguese full-back is also not shy of working hard for his side and can be a very reliable defensive presence inside his own half due to his tenacity to win possession back for his team. He has a good football IQ that allows him to pull off a few essential last-gasp clearances at the back.

Semedo is highly versatile as he can operate in both full-back positions, so a defender of his skillset and speed will undeniably be a welcome addition to Guardiola’s squad if the Spanish head coach can find a way to lure him to the north-west of England. He will not only add more pace and variety to the Man City first-team but also enhance the overall depth of their squad.

Semedo will offer some healthy competition for the likes of Kyle Walker, Joao Cancelo, Benjamin Mendy and Oleksandr Zinchenko in the race to secure a regular starting berth at the Etihad Stadium. Plus, he will also provide Guardiola with the freedom to experiment with his tactics, team selection and formations more often in the coming seasons which might help Man City bridge the gap to Liverpool at the top of English football.

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