This article forms part of our The Ones That Got Away feature series, which is where Football Transfer Tavern take a look back at players linked with moves in the past, and see how they would have made an impact had they signed for the interested side.
Manchester City may have had a stellar season in 2018/19, but the task of prolonging their current period of success was dealt a blow following the announcement of Vincent Kompany’s departure early last summer.
City were then left with the assignment of replacing the Belgian, but neglected to give someone new the chance of filling Kompany’s boots, and entered the new season with just three recognised centre-backs – in Aymeric Laporte, John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi.
Kyle Walker had played there in the past for his country, while defensive midfielder Fernandinho had also provided an alternative option in that area a handful of times, but City were nevertheless undersupplied at centre-back.
And through little more than sheer bad luck, it is the same area that has been depleted by injuries – so much so, that new midfield signing Rodri – standing in as the main defensive trio all recover from respective problems – also picked up an injury during their recent win over Atalanta in the Champions League.
While it is likely they’d be down to the bare bones regardless, a significant weight on the side could have been lifted had they beaten their city rivals to the signature of ex-Leicester City defender Harry Maguire.
City were interested in signing the 26-year-old prior to his eventual £80m switch to Old Trafford, with Pep Guardiola insisting that the club could not afford the England centre-back.
Meanwhile, Sky Sports reported that the champions were willing to part with £70m to bring Maguire to the Etihad Stadium – which may suggest that City were at their limit when attempting to hijack Manchester United’s efforts to sign him.
But having spent over £500m in the last three seasons, perhaps City will feel they could have kept another £10-15m spare to ensure that Maguire became a Citizen and disrupt United’s recruitment plans in the process.
Though having failed to do so, City may be feeling blessed that their results have not suffered since being resorted to playing two defensive midfielders at centre-back, while Stones’ gradual return to action could offer some respite for Guardiola as he possibly faces time without Rodri’s services.
However, the feeling may still remain that their defensive woes would be significantly smaller had they edged United in the battle for the ever-present Red Devil.
Should Manchester City sign a central defender in January?
City fans, do you wish you had bought Maguire, or have you simply been unlucky with injuries? Let us know in the comments below!
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