Manchester City

Mario Fernandes looks primed to slot into Guardiola’s free-flowing system

Manchester City’s 2017/18 campaign was a glittering success due to the manner in which Guardiola’s players successfully implemented his rigorously thought-out philosophy. Of course, the signings of the likes of Kyle Walker, Bernardo Silva and Ederson certainly aided City’s cause, but the signing of Danilo was not overly beneficial to the squad.

Danilo arrived from Real Madrid with a mixed reputation, and it’s fair to say he left City supporters puzzled at times last season with his level of inconsistency. In City’s Carabao Cup final victory over Arsenal it’s fair to say he was immense at left-back whilst deputising for the injured Fabian Delph, despite pre-match doubts over his ability to remain solid in that position.

But his brilliant marauding display on that occasion was rather overshadowed by a whole host of defensive mistakes he made throughout the season. Danilo’s alarming lapses in concentration arrived all too regularly, so Guardiola should at least be considering the possibility of replacing him this summer.

It seems unlikely that City would be able to offload Danilo for a price close to what they paid for him despite the fact that he is a Brazil international and has rich experience in European football. However, if they do manage to find a buyer for the 26-year-old, Guardiola should target CSKA Moscow’s Mario Fernandes to replace him.

Fernandes (valued at £14.4 million by Transfermarkt) was one of Russia’s standout performers in their overachieving World Cup campaign, but he unfortunately played a decisive role in his nation’s exit from the competition. The impressive full-back saved Russia in extra-time with an emphatic header to take their tie against Croatia to penalties, but he eventually fluffed his spot-kick in the shootout.

It was a heartbreaking moment for a player who thoroughly impressed throughout the tournament, but his lack of composure should not deter Man City from showing an interest this summer. At 27-years-old it’s time that Fernandes was given an opportunity to showcase his talent at one of Europe’s top clubs, and his all-action style of play is well-aligned with what Guardiola expects from his full-backs.

On the back of an impressive World Cup performance it’s unlikely that he’ll come cheap, but there’s no doubt City would be acquiring a significant upgrade on Danilo if they were prepared to match CSKA’s asking price.

Man City fans – thoughts? Let us know below!

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