Pep Guardiola needs to overhaul Manchester City’s defence with John Stones, Nicolas Otamendi and Eliaquim Mangala not living up to their price tag
With Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City out of the Champions League and seemingly axed from the Premier League title race, the evidence that City’s defence needs a total overhaul has been more evident than ever for everyone to see this season.
With a net spending of over £119million on defenders alone over the past three seasons they have spent more than half the current Premier League teams have spent on their whole squads during the same amount of time. With a figure like that, you would expect the defence of Manchester City to be one of the best in Europe, and yet it isn’t even one of the best in the Premier League, conceding 29 goals this season already.
With calls now coming for Guardiola to spend big in summer in an attempt to overhaul his defence, TIBS News takes an in-depth look into City’s top three most expensive defensive signings.
John Stones, Signed from Everton for £47.5m (Summer 2016)
After crashing out of Europe and what looks set to be the Premier League title race, the 22-year-old from Barnsley has frequently been made the scapegoat of the City team. At times the criticism has been unfair but most of the time it has been justified. Against Monaco, John Stones, similarly to so many times this season, looked out of place and short of ideas against the ever present threat of Monaco’s Kylian Mbappe.
In his penultimate year at Everton, Stones was arguably the best defender in the League, evident from the £50m bid made by then Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho. In the Premier League alone he played 23 games, made 35 interceptions, blocked 25 shots, and amassed 150 clearances. Compare that to this year since he made the switch to Manchester and you will see the clear difference. Playing one less game so far, he has currently only made 30 interceptions, blocked nine shots, and made a measly 88 clearances.
At the age of 22, Stones luckily has time on his side but if he can’t learn to become a top quality player under the coaching of Pep Guardiola, a man who coached the likes of Lionel Messi and Gerard Pique to name a few, then he will never be the top English defender that all expected him to become.
Nicolas Otamendi, Signed from Valencia for £32M, (Summer 2015)
In the summer of 2015, then City manager Manuel Pellegrini made the decision to fork out a whopping £32m on Argentine defender Nicolas Otamendi. After impressive performances in the La Liga, many expected the 29-year-old to be the player that City needed to sure up their defence. Unfortunately he has been completely the opposite as many expect Otamendi to be on his way out of the Etihad come the end of the season.
Otamendi’s disastrous ability of reading the English game is obvious for the simplest of footballing brains to see. He is regularly caught out of position, spends too much time spent on the ball, and his poor discipline has resulted in Otamendi earning 18 yellow cards in 51 Premier League appearances.
His performances at Manchester City have been nothing short of embarrassing at times and the Manchester club will be lucky to recuperate even half of the initial fee they paid out.
Eliaquim Mangala, Signed from Porto for £40M, (Summer 2014)
Anyone remember this guy? Signed from Porto in the summer of 2014 for a then record fee for a defender, eclipsed by Stones’ transfer, Eliaquim Mangala’s time at Manchester City was the stuff that defensive nightmares are made of.
Mangala was signed on the back of a series of impressive performance for Portuguese team Porto, but at Manchester City he was a mistake waiting to happen in the back-line of their defence.
After two hugely unsuccessful seasons in England where at times his performances were comical, current City manager Guardiola made the decision that enough was enough and the Frenchman was subsequently sent out on loan to Spanish side Valencia. Will be sold on in the summer but City fans will look to forget this signing as quickly as possible.
By Ryan Walker