Manchester Metropolis are at the moment within the technique of slowly however absolutely overhauling the guts of their defence, following the departure of Vincent Kompany in 2019.
Final season, defensive midfielder Fernandinho deputised at centre-back for a lot of the marketing campaign, resulting from quite a lot of accidents to key gamers in that place, particularly Aymeric Laporte. This summer time, Metropolis have added Nathan Aké to their ranks, a relaxed and composed, left-footed central defender – a uncommon commodity within the footballing world.
Pep Guardiola is just not glad with only one defensive addition; he deems it crucial for Metropolis to have a choice of centre-backs to select from, all able to taking part in at an elite stage.
Two centre-backs at the moment taking part in in La Liga have emerged as attainable alternate options to Metropolis’s precedence goal, Kalidou Koulibaly. They’re José Giménez of Atletico Madrid and Jules Koundé, a Europa League winner with Sevilla.
Uruguayan worldwide Giménez has spent the previous six seasons underneath fellow South American Diego Simeone at Atletico Madrid. The 25-year-old – who just lately examined constructive for COVID-19 – has made 130 La Liga appearances regardless of having by no means been a chronic common in Atleti’s defence.
A mix of accidents and lack of type has seen him characteristic intermittently all through his time in Madrid. Nonetheless, Giménez continues to be a high-level central defender, even when his harm historical past is somewhat regarding.
Guardiola’s obvious pursuit of Giménez appears at odds with the type of defender he has sometimes signed all through his managerial profession. The Uruguayan is taken into account one thing of a magnet for yellow playing cards, and is hardly one of many extra progressive ball-players.
What he’s good at although, is old-school defensive work, one thing which is being misplaced within the discourse of recent central defenders. In response to FootballSlices.com, over the previous two seasons in European and home competitors, Giménez has received 74.1% of his aerial duels, placing him within the prime 8% of central defenders throughout Europe’s prime 5 leagues.
His worth in Simeone’s hardened, regimented aspect shouldn’t be underestimated – whereas his performances are hardly ever glamorous, they’re efficient as he can bludgeon opponents into submission.
Contemplating the choices Metropolis at the moment have in central defence, they’re missing one thing of an enforcer – and whereas there may be the argument one is just not crucial, the membership clearly really feel they’re lacking a participant of Giménez’s type, in any other case he wouldn’t be on their watchlist.
The 12 matches Metropolis misplaced in all competitions final season is actually one thing Guardiola shall be hoping to rectify on this marketing campaign, and if meaning smartening up in defence with a extra rugged centre-back partnering a ball-player, then so be it.
Twenty-one-year-old Jules Koundé is a extra balanced central defender compared to Giménez. The Frenchman is a greater distributor of the ball, though he might be suspect of overplaying at occasions, trying harder passes that are intercepted.
Koundé ties in with the type of defender Guardiola has been extra used to working with, and would require much less moulding to Metropolis’s approach of taking part in. Over the previous season with Sevilla, Koundé has matured massively; he seems stronger, extra resolute and higher in bodily duels than he did in Ligue 1 with Girondins Bordeaux.
Essential to Manchester Metropolis’s type is the power to commit tactical fouls, and Koundé is crafty in relation to that endeavour too. Considerably underneath the radar, the 21-year-old has been one of the vital dependable centre-backs in Spain over the previous 12 months.
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A stumbling block could be his age and the remaining years on his contract, totalling 4. This means Koundé would possible be costlier than Giménez and finally it comes down as to if Guardiola’s want for a centre-back resolution is instant or might maybe wait six to 12 months.
Koundé’s progressive capabilities counsel he could be a greater match, particularly contemplating he has proven he can enhance in additional classical defensive areas, competing nicely within the air and proving to be a troublesome pillar to bypass in Sevilla’s rearguard.
On the entire, the duo could be greater than able to assimilating to the Premier League – their bodily capabilities imply there are not any main considerations in that division.