Roberto Mancini’s arrival at Manchester City guarantees that the club will be active in the transfer market as the Italian looks to put his stamp on the side. Defensive frailties are what he is most concerned about and unlike Mark Hughes, Mancini does not need to stick with the expensive talents of Kolo Toure, Joleon Lescott and Wayne Bridge; he did not sign them so can drop them with little fanfare. Mancini is expected to plunder Serie A for defensive recruits but a player in the Russian league is also thought to be on his wish-list; but just who is Cristian Ansaldi?
Ansaldi is a 23-year-old Argentine who plays for Russian champions and Champions League surprise package, Rubin Kazan. The player operates primarily as a left-back but can also be effective in a more offensive position on the left wing. With Wayne Bridge injured and Sylvinho looking completely off the pace, a left-back is a priority for Mancini and Ansaldi may fit the bill. Since his move to Rubin Kazan in January 2008, Ansaldi has established himself as first choice for his club; he has been a constant presence in the side that has won back-to-back league titles. Rubin performed admirably in the Champions League group stage against tough opposition and Ansaldi was particularly impressive. The Russian domestic season is now over and a January move is certainly possible.
Ansaldi is an attacking full-back; he has great stamina and pace that allows him to support his attackers and make overlapping runs on a regular basis. Defensively he is solid, as shown by the impressive performances against Lionel Messi in the Champions League when Rubin kept a clean sheet at home after defeating the Catalans at the Camp Nou. Ansaldi was particularly impressive in the away game as he managed to keep his compatriot quiet for long periods of the game.
Ansaldi recently made his first senior appearance for Argentina in friendly against Spain which his side lost. It is unclear what role he will play for the national team in the future but he is certainly a talented player. His ability to defend well and attack when the time is right makes Ansaldi a very attractive proposition for Manchester City. However there is interest from Real Madrid amongst others, so City will have to move quickly to secure his services.