The Manchester City fans have been drowning their sorrows in the Transfer Tavern this week since they suffered a 3-0 defeat against a clinical Liverpool side at Anfield in the quarter-final of the Champions League.
Pep Guardiola’s side have barely had a notable slip up this season, but their chief nemesis Liverpool came back to haunt them once again on Wednesday evening in the first-leg of a compelling European clash. Jurgen Klopp’s fluid front-three ran riot in the first-half at Anfield and Liverpool managed to take advantage of their fine start by scoring 3 goals to firmly place themselves in the driving seat ahead of the second-leg.
The decision was made to start Aymeric Laporte at left-back following an impressive performance at Goodison Park in the same position last weekend, but City’s new recruit was exposed by Salah down the flank as he struggled to deal with the pace of the Egyptian. Laporte was deployed from the outset due to necessity more than anything, as Benjamin Mendy remains sidelined through injury and Delph was returning to City’s squad for the first time since he was sent off during his side’s defeat against Wigan in February.
Left-back has remained a problem area for Guardiola this season, as he has regularly been forced to play Oleksandr Zinchenko and Danilo in that position, despite the fact that neither player is naturally suited to the role. It’s a problem which needs addressing in the summer, so City should make a bid to hijack their local-rivals bid for Faouzi Ghoulam (valued at £22.5 million by Transfermarkt).
According to reports in RMC, United are interested in signing the Napoli defender during the summer transfer window, and they are readying a €30 million (£26 million) bid for his services. Considering Ghoulam’s form for the Serie A title-challengers throughout his career in Naples so far, it’s unlikely that they will be willing to sell him for the quoted price, but that should not deter City from making a rival bid.
City need a quality left-back to provide support for Mendy and enable the club to compete on multiple fronts once again next season, and Ghoulam fits the bill. Danilo and Zinchenko do not have the capability to provide long-term cover at left-back, whilst Delph is likely to be eager to move back into centre-midfield next season, so City must challenge United for Ghoulam’s signature to finally solve a key issue at The Etihad Stadium.
A defender with a brilliant balance of attack and defence, the 27-year-old has had his share of injury problems, but if the Citizens can keep him fit, he could prove to become one of the Premier League’s best down the left-hand side.
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