Kyle Walker blew the world record transfer fee for a defender back in the summer of 2017. Manchester City paid a hefty sum of £50 million+ for his services and solved the problem of replacing Pablo Zabaleta at right back. However, Walker seems to have recently been in and out of the dog house with Guardiola after a poor run of form starting back in December. Consequently, this highlighted the lack of depth and the need for a ‘world class’ player in the right-back position. Certainly, City have Fernandinho and Stones, who can play right-back if need be but they are heavily required in their primary positions. In this short article, we will look at a few potential players who could bolster the Citizen’s right defensive side.
Walker’s rating for Manchester City this season has averaged around 6.96. Arguably not good enough for a team of Manchester City’s calibre. An obvious weakness being tackling, which as a right-back is pretty essential. Passing is a strength of Walker’s however, in recent matches he has given the ball away due to poor decisions made whilst trying to pass.
A player that comes to mind instantly at right-back is Joshua Kimmich. Valued at around £55-60 million, Kimmich would be the ultimate signing in this position and can even play in centre midfield or defensive midfield roles. Kimmich has great strengths in his game and can distribute the ball fantastically. additionally, Kimmich rates at an average of 7.3 a game. A good deal higher than Walker’s and with roughly the same amount of games played. 12 assists for a defender is ridiculously high and has even managed to get onto the scoresheet. However, tackling seems to be a massive weakness for the German player.
Kimmich’s last game saw him touch the ball 95 times and got up and down the pitch reasonably well. This shows how as a wing-back Kimmich gets forward and not the top right and left corners of the pitch.
Comparatively, Kimmich beats Walker in most areas apart from distribution. Chance creation is significantly higher which would suit any Guardiola outfit. CIES also rate Kimmich +2 over Walker and is clearly one of the best players in the world in this position.
On the other hand, we have João Cancelo. Sold to the ‘Old Lady’ from Valencia for around £40 million. Cancelo has had a great start to his first season at Juventus averaging 7.41 a game although has played around 10 full games less. An interchangeable full back would bolster City’s capability on either side of the defence. His passing game is very strong and is comfortable on the ball.
Cancelo totted up 98 touches against the struggling Frosinone and featured mostly in the middle of the pitch. Still, he can get forward and his notched up 2 assists in 22 games so far.
In comparison, Cancelo has the upper hand on most attributes. Walker has a better distribution but as eluded to earlier, he has been poor in this area as of late. CIES rate Cancelo +1 over Walker, making him a great addition/replacement for Man City.
The young Aaron Wan-Bissaka has been an absolute revelation at Crystal Palace this season. He has only missed one game for Palace this season and has rated a strong 7.23 game average. Bissaka has a great knack of tackling both standing and sliding. Dribbling is a strong part of his game and can turn defence into an attack in an instant. But, what is lacking in his game is decent distribution and holding onto the ball.
Bissaka touched the ball 73 times in his last game and featured fairly well in the middle of the pitch.
In comparison, Walker has the best of Wan-Bissaka in most areas apart from ‘take on’. All in all, CIES rate him -11 on Walker but is understandable considering Wan-Bassaka is still only 21 years old.
The 4 players compared together defensively looks something like this. Wan-Bissaka surprisingly comes out on top on most statistics despite his profile comparator.
There is no doubt that all three players would make great replacements for Walker and all have pros and cons into Man City signing them. Kimmich, a proven winner with nine titles already but, would come with a hefty price tag. Cancelo, also a proven winner with five titles but has only recently been signed by Juventus making a transfer seem very unlikely. Wan-Bissaka, having a great season, strong tackling and great with the ball but unproven at the top level.
In conclusion, I think Wan-Bissaka seems a plausible option. Valued at around £10 million, a transfer would be an excellent business and seems fairly likely. There are already rumours that Manchester City and Manchester United have expressed interest in the wing back and there is no doubt to why. One would think that Wan-Bissaka would relish a challenge at a top team but to where he will end up, we will just have to wait and see.
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