Pep Guardiola is about to create a force to be reckoned with. To do that he has to buy one more player. Ok, “one more” is a better way to formulate what they need. Fernandinho is showing that years are taking on him and he needs someone to get in.
The Spaniard’s team looks a lot more insecure, in moments totally numb in midfield when Fernandinho isn’t holding his position in it. The player they bring in has to be able to elevate himself on a level that’s needed to get a chance in City’s first team. Guardiola needs another long-term option to replace arguably the most important player in his squad right now. There are three names available on the market that could to that.
Marco Verratti or Fernandinho?
As a deep-lying playmaker, there are few better than PSG’s Marco Verratti. The 26-year-old possesses superb defensive instincts and rarely shows any desire to attack. Instead, he prefers to do his work from deep, allowing his teammates to shine on the ball.
When watching Verratti, it is clear why his awareness is so impressive. The Italy international is constantly scouting the situation on the pitch. He knows where to position himself to recover possession, and is never afraid of getting physically involved in the midfield battle.
PSG certainly do not want to let him go. However, if City can come up with a convincing proposal, Verratti may look to bring his seven-year association with the Ligue 1 giants to an end in search of a new test.
Julian Weigl or Fernandinho?
Julian Weigl has spent much of his senior career shielding defences with ease. Just like Fernandinho. He knows how to identify and nullify danger, and also has the technical ability to play himself out of trouble. When he plays, he regularly finds himself on the ball and rarely struggles to pick a pass to his teammates at Borussia Dortmund.
However, things have not been great this season. Weigl has found himself out of the team, making just four Bundesliga appearances since the start of the season. He is clearly not in manager Lucien Favre’s immediate plans, and City could seek to capitalize on that.
The 23-year-old offers everything that Guardiola likes in a midfielder, and Weigl may feel that he has a better shot at first-team minutes in Manchester.
Marcelo Brozovic or Fernandinho?
When you are talking about Inter it’s normal to talk about Icardi or Inter’s defence. Many would know Brozovic as an offensive player with an outstanding long shot. Yet, there is so much more to him. He is Inter’s second most important player after Mauro Icardi.
Marcelo Brozovic was a just offensive midfielder with a beautiful longshot, but that has changed big time. Inter biggest problem since Spalletti is a bad support case to the infamous Mauro Icardi. Brozovic is a technically proficient footballer, equally capable of providing assists and goals. He’s a creative spark with excellent vision and passing and is a real danger from distance. That is something his better at than Fernandinho.
Another string to the Croatia international’s bow is that he’s a versatile midfielder. He can be used in a number of roles. Central midfield, defensive midfield, attacking midfield and on the right flank. Brozovic’s adaptability is also one of his strong suits, given the changes he has already overcome in his short career.
These are just three players that I’ve pointed out above all have strong bids to replace Fernandinho. Julian Weigl probably ranks as the worst option if we look strictly what CIES says. But, knowing Guardiola, it’s quite possible for him to be The One. He is, after all, his wish for a long time, and would be the cheapest of all.
On the other hand, Marco Verratti looks like a natural choice. But so does Marcelo Brozovic. I’m not going to lie, Croatian midfielder is the only one that has no obvious problems that could complicate his transfer. While Verratti has serious problems with injuries and Weigl with playing time, Brozo has all that sorted out. The answer to Guardiola’s headaches writes itself.