According to Manchester Evening News, Manchester City might have an unplanned solution for their fullback problem in the form of Manuel Akanji who was bought for a fee in the region of £15 million. The former Borussia Dortmund centre-back was brought to Etihad Stadium in the final hours of the deadline day and the decision seems justifiable after the defender proved himself in the three outings for the Mancunian giants.
Akanji’s Impressive Form In Bundesliga Last Season
Akanji had a solid campaign for Dortmund as he produced some influential displays in the defensive third of the pitch. He could only find the back of the net on one occasion featuring across multiple competitions.
The Swiss defender was a reliable performer at the heart of Dortmund’s backline as he averaged 1.3 tackles, 1.3 interceptions and 2.1 clearances per game in the Bundesliga. He was also accurate with his ball distribution, completing 90.6% of his attempted passes averaging 76.9 passes per game in the German top flight (stats via whoscored).
Good Call From Guardiola To Bring Him To Manchester City?
Akanji is a solid defender; as he can make a few decent tackles and some clever interceptions inside his half. He excels at distributing possession being the last man right at the centre of the defence and does well to play his way out from the back. Furthermore, he can clear his lines if he senses danger from the opposition.
The 27-year-old’s arrival to the Etihad club has proposed an unplanned solution for Guardiola as he could lift the pressure off of the three fullbacks at his disposal allowing the Swizterland international to play in the heart of City’s defence while John Stones and Nathan Ake go wider when Joao Cancelo goes deeper into the final third. So City could play with a three-man defence at the back while Cancelo remains the only full-back who ventures forward to create more opportunities in front of the goal.
Pep Guardiola could utilise such a strategy until Aymeric Laporte and Kyle Walker return to the match-day squad but this allows the Spanish tactician to tackle the left-back problem as Sergio Gomez does seem promising but not reliable enough in important fixtures as he lacks in experience. So the Mancunian giants have been smart in acquiring Akanji for such a price.