To say Pep Guardiola has underwhelmed during his first season in English football would be a bit of an understatement. Manchester City will end the season trophy-less, whilst securing Champions League football will come down to the final day of the campaign – although they do look nailed on for a spot in the top four.
Yet, considering the squad at the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich gaffer’s disposal, perhaps a little leeway is in order. This City side is caught in transition between old and new, whilst certain departments need complete revolutions this summer – namely, both defensive flanks.
Indeed, full-backs have become so important in the modern game and especially for attacking managers like Guardiola, who like their No.2s and No.3s to bomb forward to provide extra with and penetration from wide positions. City’s current options, however – Pablo Zabaleta, Bacary Sagna, Aleksandar Kolarov and Gael Clichy – just don’t have the legs for it.
Thus, bringing in top quality options this summer could kickstart Guardiola’s stuttering revolution at the Etihad Stadium and in terms of a new left-back, it’s becoming increasingly harder to look past Juventus star Alex Sandro – who was linked with a summer move to City by Goal last week.
The Brazilian can operate as a left-back, wing-back or left midfielder and has enjoyed consistently impressive form since moving to Turin two summers ago, including in last night’s Coppa Italia final where he set up both of Juventus’ goals in a 2-0 win over Lazio.
That kind of creativity is exactly what City need from their full-back options, the South American finishing up with the most chances to his name of any player on the pitch, but Sandro’s suitability to the dynamic full-back role doesn’t simply stop there.
He held his end of the bargain defensively too with two tackles, three interceptions and two clearances – an equal necessity for City considering they’ve conceded more than a goal per game in the Premier League this season.
Under contract until 2020, Sandro won’t come cheap this summer. But Goal believe City are prepared to pay €50million (£42.66million) for the 26-year-old and considering the impact he could have in terms of truly implementing Guardiola’s philosophy, he certainly seems worth that lofty investment.