Manchester City

What does the future hold for Zinchenko at Manchester City?

What does the future hold for Zinchenko at Manchester City?

It was a quiet transfer window for Manchester City with the club having only made one major signing while there were also no significant departures. 

And on the topic of departures, midfielder Oleksandr Zinchenko was one player at the club to be heavily linked with a move away from the Etihad this summer.

Newly-promoted Wolves had lined up a £16m bid for Zinchenko (via Daily Mail), only for the Ukrainian to reject a move on deadline day.

£13.5m-rated (via Transfermarkt) Zinchenko is now set to stay with the Premier League champions for another season, but the Shakhtar Donetsk youth product will most certainly see less game time in comparison to the previous campaign.

With Benjamin Mendy sidelined for the majority of last term, Zinchenko, alongside Fabian Delph, filled in at left-back.

But with the Frenchman’s return to full fitness and, given how well Delph performed as a left-back, Zinchenko is likely to be firmly on the periphery of Manchester City’s first-team.

With that in mind, it may come as a surprise to many that Zinchenko opted to stay at the Etihad instead of joining Nuno Espirito Santo’s side.

However, the opportunity to continue his development under a coach like Guardiola may have just swayed his mind and there still remains a chance of the Manchester City manager finding the 21-year-old a new role in the squad.

Despite mostly being used as a left-back in Manchester City’s title-winning campaign, Zinchenko can also play in midfield which could provide a solution to a dilemma Guardiola has faced all summer.

The former Bayern Munich manager had wanted to strengthen that area of the squad going into the new season, but failed to do so after seeing primary target Jorginho snatched from his grasp by Premier League rivals Chelsea.

With no alternative to the Brazilian-born Italy international signed, Guardiola has spoken of utilising other players in the squad as cover for Fernandinho, and the ex-Barcelona boss has confirmed Zinchenko is just one name he is considering for the role (via City Watch).

Zinchenko rarely looked out of his depth when playing for the Citizens last season and, at 21, there is every chance Guardiola can coach and mould the Ukraine international into a capable holding midfielder.

Zinchenko, however, as well as Fernandinho, will also have to compete with Ilkay Gundogan and Delph for the spot at the base of Manchester City’s midfield three.

But Guardiola’s tendency to rotate his starting XI heavily could give Zinchenko the chance to stake a claim for a defensive midfield position at the Etihad.

That being said, Zinchenko still faces a humongous challenge of imposing himself at the club this season with competition for a spot set to be fierce.

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