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Manchester City: Nicolas Otamendi linked with return to Valencia

Manchester City: Nicolas Otamendi linked with return to Valencia -Manchester City

In a summer that has already seen Vincent Kompany depart Manchester City to become player-manager at Anderlecht, another veteran centre-back could be on his way out of the Etihad Stadium.

Spanish publication Marca reported that Nicolas Otamendi could return to Valencia, the club he left in 2015 to move to the current Premier League champions.

According to Marca, the 31-year-old Argentina defender is giving strong consideration to a second spell at the Mestalla and Valencia would be interested in taking him back.

However, Marca claimed that any such move could be complicated by the size of the fee that Manchester City demand for the player, as well as the need for Otamendi to take a pay cut if he goes to Valencia.

Although Otamendi has accumulated 171 appearances in his four years at Manchester City, he found regular game time harder to come by last season.

The 31-year-old started only 14 Premier League games in 2018/19, compared to 33 in the previous campaign. He also had fewer Champions League appearances last season (five) than in 2017/18 (eight), with Pep Guardiola’s team playing 10 games in the competition in both campaigns.

Otamendi’s total of 33 appearances and 2,478 minutes in all competitions last season was fewer than fellow Manchester City centre-backs John Stones (39 appearances, 2,820 minutes) and Aymeric Laporte (51 appearances, 4,352 minutes).

The Argentina defender’s statistics of 2.2 successful aerial duels per game and 92.7% passing accuracy are impressive in their own right. However, such is the standard at Manchester City that he is still outperformed by Stones (2.5 aerial duels per game, 94.2% passing success rate) in this regard, with Laporte (2.2 aerial duels per game, 92.3% passing success rate) only marginally inferior.

However, Otamendi performs the best of the three centre-backs in terms of defensive work such as tackling and interceptions. Last season, he averaged 1.4 tackles and 1.6 interceptions per game. Laporte’s match averages were 1.2 tackles and 1.1 interceptions, with Stones averaging just 0.7 tackles and 0.6 interceptions per game.

Unless Guardiola intends to promote young centre-backs like Eric Garcia and Philippe Sandler into the first-team squad, or call Eliaquim Mangala back in from the cold (he was given no minutes in 2018/19), Manchester City will go into the new season with just three central defenders – Stones, Laporte and Otamendi.

The Argentina man’s statistics indicate that he could justifiably compete with Stones and Laporte for a regular starting berth, so allowing him to leave for Valencia would deprive the Premier League champions of a more than capable defender and leave them very light in the centre-back positions.

Manchester City fans, do you think Otamendi should be sold to Valencia or would you like to see him kept at the Etihad? Share your views in the comments section below!

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Article title: Manchester City: Nicolas Otamendi linked with return to Valencia

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