Oleksandr Zinchenko’s time at Manchester City looks to be coming to an end, as Pep Guardiola seems to favour at least three options ahead of the Ukrainian at left-back.
Nathan Ake, who joined in the summer from Bournemouth, started at left-back for the Citizens against Marseille on Wednesday, suggesting that Guardiola sees the Dutch international’s future in that position.
We have also seen Joao Cancelo impress at left-back so far this season, whilst Benjamin Mendy has done fairly well in his few appearances there, which leaves Zinchenko as potentially fourth-choice.
You could argue that the 23-year-old would have left City last summer if it wasn’t for Mendy’s injury history, but if the French international can prove his fitness this season, then it would not be a surprise to see Zinchenko leave either in January or next summer.
So far this season, he has made just one substitute appearance in the Premier League and four appearances in the Champions League, although with the group stages now over, you suspect that Guardiola might omit the defender in favour of Cancelo, Ake or Mendy for the knockout fixtures.
Unfortunately for the former FK Ufa man, he has never really managed to establish himself as a regular in City’s first-team, with just 73 first-team appearances to his name since joining the club in the summer of 2016.
His performances in 2018/19, both in the Premier League and the Champions League, were extremely impressive, as he averaged comfortably over a 7/10 match rating in that season but unfortunately, his performances since then have declined.
In February 2019, Guardiola was full of praise for the left-back, saying:
“Incredible is the only thing I can say.
“Oleks has [shown] me the importance and value of being a good guy.
“At the beginning of the season he was close to making a transfer, and I never saw him have one bad face or had a bad training session from him.
“Some players want to show me how disappointed they are, but Zinchenko is the complete opposite. When this happens, you are always going to play [well].
“He is going to have a long career, here (at City) hopefully!”
However, the signings of Cancelo and Ake, as well as Mendy’s return to fitness, have seen Zinchenko slip down the pecking order at City and his lack of appearances this season suggest that an exit could be close for the £18 million-rated defender.
And, in other news… Forget Foden: Man City star who had 107 touches was Pep’s star man vs Marseille