Manchester City can boast of having one of the best stocked squads in European football. Yet, the defensive midfield position was a bit of a problem area last term. The departure of club captain Vincent Kompany at the end of the season created another problem for Pep Guardiola who is on a mission to take the club further especially in Europe having conquered the domestic scene. Getting replacements and reinforcements is usually necessary to stay at the top no matter how good a team is. That helps prevent regression.
After completing the signing of longtime target Rodrigo from Atletico Madrid and securing the return of left back Angelino to boost the defence, focus has now shifted to finding a replacement for Kompany in the center back position. City was reported to be in pole position to sign Leicester City’s Harry Maguire. The England international was said to favour a move to the Etihad Stadium as he preferred to play for Guardiola.
But as has become associated with Leicester City, the club decided to play hardball by slamming a huge price on the player that is beyond what City is willing to pay. As has also become Man City’s character, the club hierarchy walked away. The center back is now expected to head to Manchester United.
Finding a top-class player in any position that can hit the ground running is no easy task. Ajax’s Matthijs de Ligt has been the subject of a transfer battle between European bigwigs. Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain, Juventus, name them. And the price tag is prohibitive. Same applies to the likes of Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly, and Inter Milan’s Stefan de Vrij if he was even available. Those are some of the top class defenders that are a class above Tosin Adarabioyo at the moment.
Against most others, the young Manchester City center back can compete. And that accounts for why he needs to be given a chance. Out on loan at West Bromwich Albion in the Championship, the 21-year-old featured regularly last term. He made 30 league appearances and 36 overall in all competitions.
For a player that had a look in when Guardiola first arrived at the Etihad Stadium and was even used in the Champions League, valuable experience gained by playing regular first-team football even if in the Championship has prepared him to take a step forward in his City career. With the advantage of having played for City’s youth teams and being immersed in the club’s culture and style, this could be the best time to reintegrate him back into the squad.
A fourth choice role behind Aymeric Laporte, John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi will mean he gets to play mainly in the Cup competitions. He can also be used as a late substitute in other select games. That, plus just being around and training with the first team will also aid his physical and mental development to become one of the top class defenders in the near future. That can only benefit the club in the long run.
So is Adarabioyo ready for the big step up?
Ultimately, he will have to be given the chance to prove himself. A full season with the first team can reveal a lot. But the fact that he was considered good enough to feature regularly for West Brom as the side came close to promotion to the top flight shows his quality is not in doubt. Of course, that is why he has not yet been sold outright.