It’s common knowledge that Manchester City has a pressing problem as a team. It’s a problem that has cost the team dearly this season - weakness at the heart of defence. It even cost the club Champions League success last season after conceding three goals against Tottenham at the Etihad Stadium.
Dayot Upamecano can help solve it.
The Frenchman is one of the best rising center-backs in world football at the moment. He has been a key player for RB Leipzig as the German side is punching above its weight in both the Bundesliga and the Champions League.
The lack of sufficient defensive cover for Man City in the Premier League has posed a huge problem all season. The defending champions have shipped in more goals this term (31) than in each of the last two campaigns (23, 27). Liverpool have conceded 10 less and that has led to more wins despite scoring less. It’s partly responsible for why Jurgen Klopp’s team has a whopping 25-point lead at the top of the table with nine games left to play.
While we all wait for the outcome of the various decisions being contemplated as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, Guardiola should be plotting a strategy to reclaim Man City’s Premier League dominance come next season. One of the key pieces of the puzzle must be to fix the defence.
It’s not surprising that the club has been busy restocking on young talents for the future, particularly in the defence. But what’s surprising is that there’s no strong push yet for a center-back in the mold of Kalidou Koulibaly, Milan Skriniar and Upamecano.
The failure of both Nicolas Otamendi and John Stones to live up to expectations in the absence of Aymeric Laporte led to midfielder Fernandinho becoming a make-shift center-back. The experiment has produced mixed results and cannot be relied upon moving forward.
Ultimately, Laporte needs a more suitable partner while Stones and Eric Garcia can act as backup. This could be the best time to move for Upamecano. The 21-year-old is about to enter the final year of his RB Leipzig contract and has a release clause of £52.5m (€60m).
Just like Bayern Munich who are reportedly interested in the defender are pushing to sign Leroy Sane, City should also be pushing for Upamecano instead of Barcelona’s Nelson Semedo. Manchester United and Arsenal have also been credited with an interest making it all the more important for City to make a move now. Wrapping up a deal on time will prevent a bidding war or the player extending his contract with Leipzig.
Young, mature, intelligent on the ball while delivering on his primary role of defending, the former RB Salzburg man will be an ideal signing for the Blues. He and Eric Garcia could also form a strong partnership down the road. A deal with the German side will be relatively easy to strike as Angelino can be used as a makeweight to reduce the price if City decide to let him go.