Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Manchester City Face Stiff Competition For This Bundesliga Defender: Right Fit For Pep?

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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 a recent report, The Evening Standard revealed that Manchester City are facing stiff competition for Red Bull Leipzig defender Josko Gvardiol. It has been claimed that Man City will have to rival Barcelona and Chelsea in pursuit of the Croatia international.

Gvardiol’s Decent Run Of Form At The Red Bull Arena

The 20-year-old is experiencing a solid campaign at the German club after putting in a few dominant displays at the centre of their defence. Gvardiol has featured in 19 matches for RB Leipzig this season, scoring one goal across all fronts.

The Croatia international has been a rock at the back for Marco Rose’s side as he is averaging 0.6 interceptions, 1.5 clearances and 0.6 dribbles per game in the Bundesliga. He has even distributed the ball relatively well from inside his half based on his pass completion rate of 89.1% in top-flight football (stats via whoscored).

Gvardiol’s current contract at the Red Bull Arena is set to run out in the summer of 2027. Thus, Man City will have to launch a big-money move if they are serious about winning the race for his services next year.

Etihad Stadium
Etihad Stadium

Is Gvardiol The Right Fit For Manchester City Boss Pep Guardiola?

Gvardiol can sense the danger quickly to earn possession back for his team on the defensive third of the pitch. He is a solid tackler of the ball and doesn’t mind putting his foot through the ball when the opposition are on the front foot. Gvardiol is primarily a central defender but can also operate as a left-back if asked to do so.

Standing at 1.85m, the Croatia sensation can use his frame to win a few 50-50 duels in the air and is also proficient at playing his way out from the back. He is currently making Croatia proud in the 2022 FIFA World Cup which is being held in Qatar.

At 20, the future is quite bright for Gvardiol, so Man City will do well to lure him away to the Etihad Stadium in 2023. We can expect him to add more bite and steel to Pep Guardiola’s defensive department and increase competition for places within his match-day squad.

The Zagreb-born defensive ace could even help the Mancunian giants compete for even more trophies in the coming seasons. Plus, Gvardiol’s skillset and potential make him a good fit for Guardiola’s side as long as the youngster can make a smooth transition to life in Premier League football.

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