According to The Sun, Manchester City are targeting Ben Chilwell as part of a £150m triple-swoop to increase their number of home-grown players, with Palace’s Aaron Wan-Bissaka and West Ham’s Declan Rice joining the Leicester man on Pep Guardiola’s list.
Despite having spent a similar amount on the signings of Kyle Walker, Benjamin Mendy and Danilo to strengthen at full-back, the former Barcelona boss is still not satisfied with his options it would seem and Chilwell would presumably vie with injury-prone Mendy for a starting spot at left-back.
The 22-year-old has impressed in defence for the Foxes this season and his performances have earned him a call-up to the England squad, but what could be yet to come for the left-footer and City if he were to trade the King Power Stadium for the Etihad Stadium in the summer? We consider the potential consequences…
A lack of options beyond Mendy has led Guardiola to deploy utility man Fabian Delph and Oleksandar Zinchenko out of position and at left-back – both have done a decent job despite being natural midfielders, but the arrival of Chilwell, a defender by trade, would mean they are less likely to feature there.
Guardiola rarely plays Mendy and Leroy Sane together, perhaps because the overlapping runs of the former would obstruct the latter, who is also left-footed. Raheem Sterling, meanwhile, has been playing on the left for City frequently of late, where he can cut in on his right foot.
Perhaps the signing of Chilwell, who also enjoys bombing up and down the flank, will mean Guardiola uses Sterling on the left far more often.
As previously mentioned, the 18-cap former Villa man came through as a midfielder but found his Cityzens breakthrough playing elsewhere under Guardiola, however Chilwell’s arrival could mean his opportunities are far more limited once again.
Having made 11 appearances in the Premier League this campaign, the Yorkshire-born ace has been much less of a fixture this season but still seems to be a key player in the dressing room. With Fernandinho ageing and the Brazilian’s ideal replacement Frenkie de Jong moving to Barcelona instead, could Delph do a job at the base of midfield? He is certainly willing to delve into the ‘dark arts’.
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The Etihad Stadium outfit look far less likely to win when former Shakhtar Donetsk man Fernandinho isn’t in the starting XI and they sorely miss his bite in the middle of the park. Guardiola may feel inclined to reintegrate Delph into the starting XI once his left-back situation is sorted and while City hunt for a more long-term replacement for their anchor.
Having won five caps with the Three Lions so far, Chilwell’s England career has well and truly begun but could just as easily be stunted whiles he remains at Leicester and the likes of Danny Rose impress with Spurs.
A move to a top six club will all but establish the 22-year-old as an England international and further his career on all competitive stages and, unlike many of the other sides around them, City can offer regular game-time despite the plethora of stars already on their books thanks to Guardiola’s excellent squad management – everyone who has earned them gets minutes.