Kevin De Bruyne’s injury blow has slightly taken the edge off a brilliant opening to the season from Manchester City as they bid to defend their Premier League crown.
An entire summer fuelled by relentless speculation bore no fruit in terms of a central midfield acquisition for Man City, and they may be living to regret their decision not to sign a new central player now that their Belgium play-maker has been ruled out for three months of the season.
City may well be one of the most formidable outfits in world football, but there’s no doubt that without
De Bruyne they are missing a crucial cog in their fluid machine. However, City’s pursuit of a midfielder was largely born out of their need to find a long-term replacement for Fernandinho.
The impeccably consistent midfield anchor has played an instrumental role in City’s development during the past half decade, but at 33-years-old there is no doubt that his best years will shortly be behind him.
That notion is exactly why City were hellbent on signing Jorginho during the summer, but his decision to perform a transfer u-turn and join Maurizio Sarri at Chelsea has forced Pep Guardiola and the rest of the club’s hierarchy to return to the drawing board.
A whole host of players will be put under intense consideration during the coming months, and one player who simply must feature on the City shortlist is Tanguy Ndombele.
Reports during the summer window heavily suggested that Ndombele was a prime target for Tottenham Hotspur following his mightily impressive season in Ligue 1.
The 21-year-old Frenchman was widely viewed as a potential successor to Mousa Dembele in Tottenham’s midfield, but the Belgium international’s decision to remain in north London deterred the club from making an official bid.
Ndombele completed a permanent move to Lyon earlier in the summer for a measly fee of just £7.2 million after enjoying a successful loan spell in the 2017/18 campaign, and if his form in Ligue 1 so far is anything to go by there’s no doubt the French giants will have the opportunity to make a healthy profit in the future.
Although Ndombele is only just beginning to establish himself in Europe and is far from the finished article, the raw potential he demonstrated last season suggests he could be the solution to City’s midfield conundrum.
Ndombele possesses all of the attributes which are needed to thrive in City’s unique anchor role: excellent stamina, a strong positioning sense, an extensive range of passing and creative flair are all strong features of his playing style, and with a little help from Guardiola he could refine these qualities to become the club’s new midfield lynchpin.
An average record of just 2 tackles and 1 interception per game last season are not the most groundbreaking of statistics to note, but the fact he rarely needs to make a decisive movement to recover possession suggests his positioning sense is excellent considering his lack of experience at the top level.
Despite joining Lyon for just £7.2 million, City will need to fork out a huge figure for Ndombele in order to prise him away from the Groupama stadium, and the prospect of making a huge return on their investment might just tempt the French giants into selling him if an attractive offer is forthcoming in the near future.
Man City fans – thoughts? Let us know below!