When Manchester City announced they were signing Aaron Mooy from sister club Melbourn City last summer, there wasn't much interest. Pep Guardiola was coming, big transfers were expected, and the first signing of the Guardiola Era was... Mooy.
A young Australian midfielder, not known around the world, very cheap. WHAT? Is this dude playing for Guardiola? No, and he was quickly loaned to Huddersfield Town in the Championship to make it clear. This wasn't really a Guardiola signing. Club scouts had been watching Mooy for two years, which was made easier by the fact that he played at a sister club, and he was brought to England to get some experience and maybe get a chance in the next few years.
As it turns out, Mooy may get a chance a lot sooner than expected.
The Australian has been one of the Championship's best midfielder, and his passing ability is really impressing at Huddersfield. “Aaron is fantastic – a fantastic football player and a fantastic guy as well", says manager David Wagner. "He is humble but very ambitious and that's why he's at the right place here, as we are also humble and ambitious".
But how about his actual football abilities?
"He is the heart of our offensive game. He knows exactly when he has to accelerate the game, when to slow down the game", Wagner continues. “He makes nearly no mistakes in passing, and nearly always makes the right decisions. This is something special for an offensive player, who is able to handle the ball so well but is aggressive, with a very good working attitude in defence as well. This combination is something special.”
So a great passer, ability to dictate the tempo, very good decision making, hard-working defender? Sounds like a perfect Pep Guardiola midfielder, right?
And according to reports, the Catalan is considering using Mooy on a permanent basis as soon as next season. Ilkay Gundogan will be back from injury then, but we don't know yet if Yaya Touré, Fernando and Fabian Delph will be part of the first team. That just leaves Fernandinho, Gundogan and young Aleix García as certainties next season. There's a spot or two left, and Mooy is definitely showing he can be a part of the side.
And the Australian is aware he's being watched by City:
“Manchester City speak to me at least once a week and their scouts are coming to our matches, so they know how I’m doing. They see me developing and they are in touch quite a lot, so it’s good.
“They wanted to put me in a tough league to test me out and see how I deal with it, and they are happy with how I’m going. But they still think I can improve and play at a higher level, so hopefully I can keep progressing.”