According to a recent report from Radio Marte (via City Watch), Oleksandr Zinchenko could be set for a move away from Manchester City in January. The 21-year-old made the move to the Etihad Stadium back in 2016 and has since gone on to appear 16 times for the Premier League champions, although only two of those appearances have come in the early phase of the 2018/19 season.
And the player’s agent has admitted to Italian radio station Radio Marte that the versatile star is open to leaving Pep Guardiola’s side come the New Year, and the City boss should seek to sanction the Ukrainian’s exit, but only on the condition that he brings in a replacement beforehand.
Ultimately, while Zinchenko hasn’t been a regular feature in the City team in the last few years, he is a vital member of the squad at the Etihad Stadium in being the ideal back-up to Benjamin Mendy at left back – this all despite joining the Citizens as a midfielder.
In fact, 15 of Zinchenko’s 16 appearances for the North West giants have been at left back with the other as a left wing back, thus underlining just how important he is to Guardiola in providing cover for France international Mendy, who of course spent much of last season out with injury.
And with those injury concerns carrying over into this season, what with the 24-year-old having spent some time out with a foot problem, the left back department is certainly lacking in depth – and letting Zinchenko go is only going to stretch those options even more.
And while there are other options available to Guardiola in the form of centre back Aymeric Laporte and midfielder Fabian Delph, it was 21-year-old Zinchenko who he called upon in their 2-0 success over Brighton in the Premier League at the end of the September – the City boss clearly thinks highly of him in that role, which is why he has to have a replacement lined up if he considers letting the Ukrainian leave.
Ultimately, the Citizens chief will surely be aware that he cannot guarantee the Ukraine international the first team football he is likely seeking, with Zinchenko highly unlikely to break into the manager’s first choice midfield, while he simply isn’t as effective at left back as World Cup winner Mendy.
Thus, for the benefit of the 21-year-old’s career, a move away in January appears to be in Zinchenko’s best interests, as there is little doubting from his 16 appearances for City that the Ukrainian has bags of talent, and is just waiting to fulfil his undoubted potential by playing more regularly somewhere else.
However, the best interests of City surely demand that a replacement is sought beforehand, as letting the Ukrainian leaves would certainly leave Guardiola short in the left back department ahead of the second half of the season.
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