Saturday, September 30, 2023

Manchester City Left-Back Could Be Loaned To Barcelona: Can Guardiola Afford To Let Him Leave?

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Ankit Seth
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According to a report from Daily Mail, Barcelona are preparing to submit a loan proposal with a purchase option for Manchester City full-back, Joao Cancelo. The 29-year-old defender was loaned out during the latter part of the previous season due to his decreased prominence at The Etihad.

Following his status as surplus in Pep Guardiola’s plans, the Portuguese national made an unexpected loan switch to Bayern Munich last winter but a permanent deal failed to materialise in this transfer window.

Cancelo’s Impressive Stint At Bayern Munich

The 29-year-old enjoyed a productive loan tenure at Bayern Munich in the previous season, showcasing a series of noteworthy performances on the right side. During his time with the German team, Cancelo found the back of the net once and contributed six assists across 21 appearances in various competitions.

Joao Cancelo
TOKYO, JAPAN – JULY 26: Joao Cancelo of Manchester City in action during the preseason friendly match between Manchester City and Bayern Muenchen at National Stadium on July 26, 2023 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Koji Watanabe/Getty Images)

The Man City player effectively displayed his capabilities as a dependable contributor on both ends of the field. In the Bundesliga, he maintained an average of 1.5 tackles, 1.0 interceptions, 1.0 clearances, 0.8 shots, 0.9 key passes, and 2.3 dribbles per game. Moreover, he exhibited precision in distributing possession from the right side, boasting an 85.1% success rate in completed passes in league matches (data sourced from whoscored).

Can Manchester City Boss Guardiola Afford To Let Him Leave?

Cancelo demonstrates strong tackling skills, swiftly recognising danger and reclaiming possession for his team within the defensive portion of the field. He is unafraid to clear the ball when necessary and is even capable of making dynamic runs down the wide areas with the ball.

With a knack for powerful long-range strikes, the Portuguese talent can also create promising opportunities in the attacking third with his vision. Cancelo, who has returned from a loan period at Bayern Munich and displayed promising form during pre-season, has long been expected to make a permanent departure from the Etihad.

If both Kyle Walker and Cancelo had left this summer, Manchester City would have faced a shortage of experienced, natural full-backs. While Rico Lewis has shown potential, he remains a teenager, and Sergio Gomez is better suited for an attacking role. Such a scenario would have required a reevaluation of transfer plans to secure a new full-back.

However, with the addition of Josko Gvardiol and Walker’s continued presence, City is better equipped than before. Cancelo’s departure wouldn’t significantly affect Pep Guardiola’s strategy, as Walker could assume the role alongside Gvardiol.

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