Former Premier League defender Alan Hutton believes Manchester City will wait to sign Brighton and Hove Albion star Marc Cucurella.
The lowdown: One in, one out
The 24-year-old fully fledged Spain international enjoyed a stellar debut campaign in England, having arrived from La Liga outfit Getafe for an undisclosed fee last summer, and was praised for his ‘absolutely outstanding’ form after a 1-1 draw against Chelsea by journalist Josh Bunting.
After seeing an initial £30million bid rejected, the Blues are expected to return with an improved offer for the man who ‘only wants Man City’ according to Fabrizio Romano and one pundit has now delivered his verdict on the situation…
The latest: Cucurella or no one?
He said: “They seem as if they’ve identified him as the number one target. I think they’ll try and hold on for as long as possible. I thought he was excellent last season in the Brighton team, he loved getting forward, he was tenacious, everything that Pep Guardiola likes.
“With Zinchenko going, [Nathan] Ake, these types of players, it’s one of those that he’ll need somebody in. I think a natural left-footer on that side helps with the balance. I’ve just got a feeling that he’s the number one target and they will wait for him.
“They’ve got [Joao] Cancelo who can play over there if it doesn’t materialise, so they’ve got an option. So it’s not a problem for Man City and I think they’ll hold out as long as possible.”
The verdict: Stop-gap may be required
As Premier League champions with a hunger for success in Europe, Guardiola and City moreover are unlikely to settle for alternative options in the market, particularly when Cucurella is clearly so highly regarded at the Etihad.
Last season, the marauding Spaniard – himself formerly of Barcelona – earned an outstanding 7.11 Sofascore rating whilst winning 5.5 duels, making 1.9 clearances and completing 1.2 key passes on average per game – highlighting the aforementioned ability in both a defensive and attacking capacity.
Under contract until 2026, the south coast club are in a position of great strength and whether or not the City hierarchy are willing to match Brighton’s £50million valuation remains to be seen.
Therefore, should the deal prove to be impossible to complete, not signing a Zinchenko replacement could be out of the question and Benfica full-back Alejandro Grimaldo, who has reportedly been offered to the Sky Blues, may need to be considered as a purely stopgap option at Eastlands if push comes to shove.
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