Houssem Aouar’s identify was unattainable to fully distance from Manchester Metropolis in the summertime switch window – nevertheless exhausting figures inside the membership tried.
For no less than the entire of 2020 the steering had been insistent that Phil Foden could be David Silva’s successor (with Bernardo Silva additionally an possibility) so there could be no must signal a central midfielder.
Not solely is Pep Guardiola’s love of midfielders well-known although however he’s additionally on file praising Aouar, who helped Lyon to a different Champions League victory over the Blues within the quarter-finals in August.
With a considerable chunk of followers believing that one other midfield signing was wanted this summer season, Aouar was the plain decide.
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Metropolis stood agency although, and went into the season with out an exterior addition – a choice that has already confirmed difficult. Bernardo returned from worldwide fixtures in September with an damage and Ilkay Gundogan was dominated out for a fortnight simply forward of the primary recreation.
Gundogan ought to be match when the Premier League returns on Saturday, but contemporary damage considerations over Kevin De Bruyne present one other take a look at to the technique that one other new midfielder wouldn’t be wanted in the summertime.
Fernandinho has been moved again into midfield however is much less snug roaming additional forwards – and, at 35, can’t play each recreation – whereas Phil Foden hasn’t been used there too usually by Guardiola. There are different choices in fact. Ferran Torres and Riyad Mahrez might probably be used there, and children Tommy Doyle and Cole Palmer are much less skilled however extra pure gamers in that place.
Whereas Metropolis did have a look at additional strengthening in different positions in the course of the switch window, they’re eager to be seen to be prudent out there – particularly in an business underneath pressure from the Covid affect – and there are many proficient gamers within the squad for Guardiola and his employees to work with an enhance.
That exact same affect of the pandemic although has left Metropolis to fill up in different areas: there are at the moment six centre-backs within the squad, as an example.
Simply as Aouar was a simple identify to comply with the Blues by way of the switch window, that can stay the case whereas they wrestle with accidents in that space. If De Bruyne is not match sufficient to face Arsenal, that call to not strengthen will once more be put underneath the microscope with completely different conclusions decided by performances and outcomes.
Metropolis are snug with the choices they’ve made within the switch window, together with in midfield. Having already needed to make do with out two of their three key choices in that space in Bernardo and Gundogan, the doubts over De Bruyne’s health which have arisen this week proceed to place that confidence to the take a look at.