The Manchester City fans have been celebrating in the Transfer Tavern this week after their side were crowned Premier League champions for the third time following West Bromwich Albion’s 1-0 victory over Manchester United at Old Trafford.
Pep Guardiola clinched his first Premier League title and his second trophy of the season last weekend after City’s local-rivals followed up their Manchester derby with a shocking 1-0 defeat against the travelling Baggies. Plenty has been made of City’s achievement this season and how Guardiola’s philosophy has completely outclassed the likes of Jose Mourinho and Jurgen Klopp this season.
One of the key changes Guardiola made this season to improve on his side’s performance in the Premier League during the last campaign was undoubtedly in the summer of 2017 where he made 5 big-money signings to bolster his squad and waved goodbye to a whole host of players such as Pablo Zabaleta, Samir Nasri and Aleksander Kolarov. The majority of signings he made have been a resounding success so far, especially Ederson and Kyle Walker who have been two of City’s standout performers this season.
However, whilst City’s other signings have flourished throughout the season, Danilo has struggled to impress when he has been given an opportunity to impress in the first-team. In fairness to the Brazilian full-back, he has often been forced to play out of position at left-back to deputise when both Benjamin Mendy and Fabian Delph has been ruled out through injury, but his lack of conviction and composure remains a worry for the club.
With that in mind, Guardiola should seek to replace him next summer, but there is reason to suggest an internal change might be all that’s necessary to make a change at right-back. The return of Pablo Maffeo from his loan spell at Girona could provide City with a perfect replacement for Danilo in the first-team.
Prior to Maffeo’s loan spell, the 20-year-old Spaniard showed plenty of promise whilst rising through the academy ranks and when he was handed a rare opportunity to showcase his talent in the first-team under Guardiola last season. Whilst on loan at Girona, Maffeo has made 27 starts for the club in La Liga and gained some valuable experience for the future, so he should be ready to slot into City’s first-team squad upon his return to Manchester.
Danilo has shown a lack of defensive awareness at time this season which is deeply concerning for a side with ambitions of winning the Champions League next season, so Guardiola must replace him with Maffeo in the summer and give the young full-back a chance to prove himself as Walker’s understudy.
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