Football

Where would Frenkie de Jong fit in at Manchester City?

Manchester City are reportedly chasing Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong. According to Teamtalk, City would consider swapping defender Aymeric Laporte in any potential deal.

Given the Premier League club’s wealth, a transfer for the young Dutch star to Manchester is not inconceivable.

Manchester City

Firstly, while Laporte has seemingly fought his way back into Pep Guardiola’s plans, he has struggled for action in recent seasons. Moreover, ready-made replacements are waiting in line. Both John Stones and Nathan Ake could come in at any time to partner Ruben Dias.

And secondly, it’s clear that the manager is not interested in holding on to players if the right offer is made. Exciting attacker Ferran Torres’ recent move to Barcelona confirms this. Sergio Aguero also made a recent switch to Spain, which ultimately sadly didn’t work out. But it shows that any player could leave the Etihad at any time.

Where would De Jong fit in at Manchester City?

With Guardiola being such an admirer of De Jong, it would be understandable to think that the midfielder would walk straight into the City starting XI. But nothing is ever that straightforward in the blue half of Manchester. The 24-year-old would undoubtedly find himself battling for a regular spot under the Spaniard.

The inevitable exit of veteran midfielder Fernandinho does, however, suggest that a similar player could be brought in. The 36-year-old Brazilian has already been gradually replaced by Rodri. And the new defensive midfielder has been a huge hit at the Etihad. But Guardiola is a perfectionist. And that means he needs several options in each position.

The likes of Ilkay Gundogan, Kevin De Bruyne, Bernardo Silva are firm favourites of the manager. But Jack Grealish, Phil Foden and even Riyad Mahrez have found themselves in Pep’s midfield at times. Youngsters Cole Palmer and James McAtee have also burst through from the youth ranks. The manager is certainly not afraid to switch things up.

Such is the competition for places, De Jong could certainly force one or two City players out.

Who could make way?

Laporte, as mentioned, could be the first player to leave if De Jong is to be brought in. But in midfield, the only plausible exit is Fernandinho. Guardiola’s star midfielders have all shone in different periods over the years. And so it is difficult to see him lose one or two in order to bring in a new face.

The only factors that may come into play at this stage are age and injuries. Gundogan is 31 and De Bruyne is 30. Moreover, both have suffered from either severe or prolonged injuries in recent times. The City boss would certainly prepare the club for the future if De Jong came in.

The potential selling of Raheem Sterling could, however, make funds available. The England forward could well be on the move after finding himself constantly in and out of Guardiola’s thoughts this season.

While De Jong would not be a direct replacement for Sterling, it would free up a spot in the manager’s interchangeable plans in midfield and attack. The Dutch international looks like the perfect fit for such a system. He has played in central, attacking and defensive midfield for Barcelona this season.

About the author

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Peter Lynch

Sports Journalism graduate from the University of Stirling, huge Liverpool and Northern Ireland fan, currently working as a freelancer.

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