Man City and Southampton are two clubs that have had fairly differing fortunes in the Premier League as Pep’s side compete for another title while Saints look like they could well be relegated this season.
While much of the fanfare around City goes to their incredible attacking play, since his arrival at the club, Fernadinho has been a crucial part of the club’s success.
At Southampton, Mario Lemina was brought in to provide some attacking threat going forward for the club but so far the Gabonese midfielder has been fairly inconsistent.
Signed for £15.4 million, last year, Lemina’s arrival was met with high expectation following his spell with European giants Juventus and before that French powerhouse, Marseille.
A talented midfielder, Lemina never cemented himself at Juventus. In his final season with the club the midfielder did start the first few games of the season but was soon benched and following a back injury in the second-half of the season, he became a bit part player.
Instantly at Southampton, he was installed as the starter in the side and was brought in to provide some creative ability into the Southampton side.
Capable of playing at the base of the midfield or as a box-to-box midfielder, Lemina could be the best player at Southampton but as of yet, he hasn’t shown it consistently. By today’s standards, his fee wasn’t huge but as of yet, he hasn’t quite lived up to it.
TT Grade: B-
Signed from Shakhtar Donetsk in 2013 for a £30 million fee, the Brazilian midfielder has been a steady rock at Man City and thanks to his ability to provide a base for his teammates to attack from, City’s forwards have thrived, especially under Pep.
Underrated technically, the Brazilian is excellent at breaking up the play and supplying the forwards. Moreover, his ability to read the game is superb and at the moment, he’s probably one of the best holding midfielders in the league.
At 33, we’ve probably seen the best of the Brazilian and the club need to be actively seeking a replacement. As of yet, there’s no one at the club who can really play in his role and when he’s not played, it’s been one of the few weak points in Pep’s side.
TT Grade: A-
The figurative safety net in Pep’s side, Fernandinho’s effect on the club has been massive since he joined. His all-around game is excellent and although Lemina might have more technical talent, the Brazilian wins this one.
If Lemina wants to have a successful career on the south coast, he should be looking to model his game on City’s Brazilian rock. As it stands, the former Juventus man hasn’t quite hit his stride at Southampton and is nowhere near the player Fernandinho is, despite links in the Daily Mail over the summer suggesting the English champions were weighing him up as a replacement.
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