Back-up goalkeeper Claudio Bravo became the second long-term injury concern for Manchester City within the week. The Chilean has now had surgery on a damaged Achilles tendon that will keep him out of action for up to six months.
This has prompted the club to recall Montenegro Under-21 international Aro Muric to the squad. The 19-year-old shot stopper was away on loan at Dutch club NAC Breda. He had played only his first professional game with the Eredivisie side on August 18. He kept a clean sheet as NAC beat De Graafschap 3-0.
Manager Pep Guardiola was expected to find an experienced replacement for injured Bravo as second-choice to Ederson. With the transfer window already closed in England, the available option was to look for an out-of-contract goalkeeper he could bring in.
But the Catalan opted for Muric instead. 20-year-old Daniel Grimshaw remains City’s third-choice. Both of Muric and Grimshaw lack first team experience. But that was not considered a problem by the manager.
When questioned about the possibility of signing a free agent, Guardiola ruled out the option.
“No, from the beginning, Aro was our option.
“We know him and he trained with us all last season. We loaned him out because second-team football here is not a real competition, you know my opinion on that.
“We want to see him play every weekend but after what happened with Claudio, the first option was bring him back, because the window was closed, so we had no other option.
“Aro and Grimmy, with Ederson will be our three goalkeepers,” he stated in a recent interview.
Howeverith the season still fresh, it remains to be seen how Muric will perform as back-up. The Champions League resumes in September, and other cup competitions will also kick in. Ederson will definitely need to be given a rest in some matches.
The style the Sky Blues play requires a very good goalkeeper behind the team. The Brazilian has distinguished himself in his ability to play from the back and also kick-start attacks. His assist for Sergio Aguero’s first goal against Huddersfield goes to show his impact on City’s game.
At a time when David Wagner’s men were making difficult for City to breakthrough, his defence-splitting pass from the goal area caught the Terriers off guard. That first goal changed the complexion of the game.
With Bravo likely out for the majority of the season, Ederson’s backup will need to be up to par. This a huge opportunity for both Muric and Grimshaw to step up to the plate and prove they are ready for the big time. It will also be a big test for the team.