When Eliaquim Mangala failed to clear his lines last time out in the league, carelessly got his feet in a muddle right in the middle of his box, and subsequently scored an own-goal past a helpless Joe Hart in the Manchester City net against Jurgen Klopp’s victorious Reds outfit – the defender’s entire spell at the Etihad was arguably summed up within that one calamitous moment.
Since first arriving among the English top-flight for a ridiculous £32million in the summer of 2014, the French international has ultimately looked nowhere near worthy of such an inflated valuation.
Despite admittedly impressing somewhat during the early stages of the 2015/16 campaign, the 24-year-old centre-back has once again resumed his usual unreliability without Vincent Kompany in place alongside him at the back, raising further doubts about his future role within Manuel Pellegrini’s chosen starting XI.
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As the Citizens can seemingly source themselves another high profile replacement across any given transfer window however – thanks to the endless pots of wealth on offer behind the scenes at the Etihad – no Manchester City player can truly consider themselves safe when the going gets tough.
So then, in light of such a hapless display from the former Standard Liege and FC Porto man against Liverpool – will the defender eventually fulfil his full potential whilst operating in the Premier League, or is there genuinely no way back for Eliaquim Mangala at Manchester City?
Well, even though the unpredictable Frenchman hasn’t exactly covered himself in much glory since first establishing himself at City, no player can really represent their nation on the international scene and arrive with as much top-flight experience as Mangala, without possessing at least some degree of quality under his belt.
Although his form among the English top-flight has been far from satisfactory, the 24-year-old blocker certainly doesn’t arrive completely without merit.
On his day Eliaquim Mangala can prove a physically strong asset at the back, whilst also displaying a fair amount of pace to help his team out of a whole host of tricky situations. The French defender performed relatively well at FC Porto alongside current City teammate, Nicolas Otamendi – so perhaps it’s only a matter of time before things start to finally click in place for the expensive centre-back.
However, fans of the current Manchester City no. 20 can only utilize such an excuse for so long before it inevitably begins to run dry. For all the promising attributes he has in-fact displayed during his time at the Etihad, Mangala has proven resolutely poor when it comes to defensive positioning and solid organisation at the back. He has also failed to show a great deal of technical ability when the situation has required, and seems way too mistake-prone to avoid any impending criticism.
When paired with the equally unreliable Martin Demichelis in the heart of Pellegrini’s back-line, the Etihad faithful are simply left with no choice but to endure the consequences of such an obvious recipe for disaster.
Eliaquim Mangala would have probably impressed among the Premier League, had he not initially arrived as a £32 million player. Now that the luckless Frenchman has been forced to operate with such a heavy burden hanging firmly over his head however, the 24-year-old is seemingly never going to reach the lofty expectations many placed upon him when he first appeared on the scene at the Etihad. Manchester City therefore doomed their marquee defensive signing before he even really had a chance…
As Mangala officially goes down as the most expensive Premier League defender ever – yet comes nowhere near close to representing one of the best defensive options to ever grace the English game as we know it – the writing sadly seems to be on the wall for the struggling centre-back already.
Yes, at 24-years-old he can still develop his game further of course – and every player obviously has to be given an adequate enough chance at proving their early doubters wrong – but due to the defender’s rather clear shortcomings, Eliaquim Mangala is arguably never going to make it at Manchester City when all is said and done.