Fernandinho appeared to be suffering from burnout at the beginning of the Premier League campaign after competing in the World Cup with the Brazil national side, but the consistently reliable midfield anchor has been back to his best in recent weeks.
Indeed, suggestions that Fernandinho was edging towards his expiry date have been firmly quashed following a string of fine performances in the midfield engine room.
Fernandinho seems intent on defying the laws of science to sweep up in-front of the back-four whilst simultaneously providing a genuine force of dynamic attacking intent from deep.
It’s a perfect blend which screams of a Pep Guardiola lynchpin, and his success in the role is certainly not a feat which can be emulated overnight.
Whoever is signed to replace Fernandinho will need to adapt to Guardiola’s principles and satisfy his expectations in arguably the most integral role within his complex system, but the identity of the ideal successor is far from conclusive at this stage.
City missed out on Jorginho in the summer and Txiki Begiristain has been forced to return to the drawing board to breakdown his most fundamental and pressing transfer objective.
Whilst City do not need to take risks in the transfer market given their dominance in English football, there is reason to suggest that a risky move into the market could be in their best financial interests.
The risky transfer in question is a potential move for infamous troublemaker Adrien Rabiot – a player whose future has been called into question once more following his omission from PSG’s starting eleven against Marseille last Sunday (as per Goal).
According to the report from Goal, Thomas Tuchel left both Rabiot and Kylian Mbappe on the substitutes bench as they arrived late to his pre-match briefing ahead of the fixture.
The story surrounding Rabiot merely represented another chapter in the tale of his controversial past, as he found himself in the spotlight prior to the World Cup when he refused to feature on the standby list for Didier Deschamps’ 23-man squad.
History would suggest that Rabiot is a player Guardiola should avoid, but with his contract due to expire in June 2019 it would certainly be foolish to rule out a move at this stage.
After all, Guardiola’s history in football management is littered with examples of his ability to transform both the attitude and performances of talented players, and if anybody possesses the skill set to put Rabiot on the straight and narrow then it’s certainly the Spanish mastermind.
Rabiot has the exceptional technical quality which Guardiola demands from all of his outfield players and, with the right level of training, he could blossom into one of the world’s most effective holding midfielders.
With PSG’s fear of losing Rabiot for free guaranteed to creep in during the January window, City have the ideal opportunity to pull off a mid-season transfer gamble which could prove to be a genius piece of business – providing Guardiola can transform the French midfielder’s mentality, of course.
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