Vincent Kompany decided to leave Manchester City at the beginning of the 2019/2020 campaign. Captain fantastic. Leader. Legend. Defensive stalwart. These are all qualities many City faithful associate with the Belgian. Kompany had joined City at a very crucial time in the club’s evolution.
Signed from German side Hamburg in the summer of 2008 aged 22, he quickly established himself as a key member of the squad. He grew into one of the league’s best centre backs.
In the 2011/12 campaign, he was handed the captain armband after distinguishing himself in the team. Under Italian manager Roberto Mancini, he led the club to win the Premier League that season. It was the club’s first league title in 44 years.
Kompany’s role in the team earned him a place in the Premier League Team of the Year for two years in a row in 2011 and 2012. By this time he had established himself as one of the best in the league. His status as one of the best in the world was confirmed when he was listed 23rd in “The 100 Best Footballers in the World” by The Guardian.
He grew in leaps and bounds, helping City to the 2014 Premier League title under Manuel Pellegrini. More recently, he played a key role in the success achieved under Pep Guardiola, despite battling with injuries.
His rocket strike against Leicester City last season that all but secured a second successive league title of the Guardiola era will remain forever etched in the minds of most City faithful.
It came as a shock to many when he decided to leave at the beginning of the 2019/20 campaign despite persuasion to stay one more year. But it was understandable. A project to help rebuild his boyhood club Anderlecht was too good to turn down.
For the record, Kompany’s role in Guardiola’s team went beyond just playing on the pitch. As captain and leader, he was a strong influence in the dressing room, helping younger players keep the right perspective and give their best on the pitch.
Guardiola didn’t consider it a priority to find a replacement with Aymeric Laporte ready to step in. How can you replace a player like Kompany anyway? But what is unarguable is the impact his departure has had, although Laporte’s injury has been a contributory factor. The team has played second fiddle to Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool this season. The Anfield side sit 25 points above City on the league table. In fact, the league crown will be secured with two more wins once (or if) league football returns for the season.
But would this have been the case if the Belgian big man had stayed one more season?
It’s unlikely that Liverpool will be in such a dominant position if Kompany was around. Despite the excellence of the Merseysiders, City’s problems have been self-inflicted. The side has lost seven league games this season, almost double the number for the whole of last term. That’s despite playing 10 games less. Compared to Liverpool’s single loss this season, it’s easy to see why the Reds are in such a commanding position.
Most of the defeats for City have been as a result of defensive frailties.
Kompany would have helped in this regard by helping shut the door at the back. The team has conceded 31 goals so far in 28 matches, eight more than the whole of last season.
Suffice to say then that if Kompany had stayed one more season, things could have been a lot different at the top of the table. City would definitely have been a more formidable team this season and would be at least neck and neck with Liverpool in the title race. That’s taking nothing away from the Reds’ brilliance this term. But their capitulation to Atletico Madrid, losing both legs of the Champions League Round of 16 is proof the side is by no means extraordinary. The competition has just not been good enough.
Speaking of the Champions League, how valuable would the Belgian have been to the team as City close in on a maiden crown?