Manchester City’s season ended with a flourish as they secured Premier League and FA Cup success to complete an historic domestic treble after winning the League Cup back in February.
The Blues saw off a strong challenge from Liverpool in the league before dismantling Watford 6-0 in the FA Cup final.
Whilst it was a special year for Pep Guardiola’s side, he will be keen to strengthen as they pursue success in the one competition that got away from them this year – the Champions League.
Top on their shopping list will be bringing in a high quality centre-half.
Although City could boast the second best defence in the division last season, conceding just one more goal than Liverpool’s league best tally of 21, they desperately require some depth to the defence following the departure of club legend Vincent Kompany. Nicolas Otamendi could also leave the club this summer, further hampering Guardiola’s resources.
But who could they make a move for in the summer?
The 26-year-old was a mainstay in a very impressive Lille side who finished second in Ligue 1 behind PSG.
Featuring in the heart of Christophe Galtier’s defensive four, he has averaged 3.81 defensive duels this season with a success rate of 39 per cent in those duels. That’s a better success rate than Liverpool’s Virgil Van Dijk and ranks him second across the top five leagues in Europe for central defenders who have played 15 or more league matches.
Not just strong in the tackle, he is domineering in the air, averaging four aerial duels per 90 minutes with a success of 67.4 per cent. He also reads the game superbly and is averaging 5.62 interceptions per 90 minutes.
A key component to City’s formula is their ability to play out from the back. To do this, they rely on the abilities of keeper Ederson and the capacity of their central defenders.
Soumaoro could certainly assist in this regard, this season he has posted a hugely impressive passing accuracy of 95.7 per cent.
Not yet in his prime, it’s unlikely the defender would warrant a huge transfer fee – he was linked with a move to Everton two years ago for just £20m.
Koulibaly has been linked with a move away from Naples for some time, with rivals United thought to have made him their number one target.
At 6ft5in he is a colossal presence at the back and makes it extremely difficult for opponents to create opportunities on the Napoli goal. He averages 0.7 blocked shots per 90 minutes and can boast a tackle success rate of over 46 per cent, bettering the bulk of defenders in the Premier League.
This has contributed to Napoli having the second lowest xGC total in Serie A of 39.6 – behind only league winners Juventus.
He has proven himself as a calming presence in defence, showing awareness to set up his body positioning to make his first touch a progressive one and having the ability to dribble himself out of danger when required. He can boast a dribble success rate of 76.9 per cent.
His ability to carry the ball is important. Many teams sit in a rigid and low-block vs City, making it hard for them to progress forward using passes only. A centre-back who can step up to add an extra dimension to the team and disorganise the oppositions set-up would be a notable addition.
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Formidable for both club and country, it’s hardly surprising Maguire has been linked with a host of big clubs this summer.
He has proven herculean at times for Leicester this year, and his underlying numbers reiterate that. He has averaged 6.18 interceptions per 90 minutes and won 68 per cent of his duels in the air.
He can also boast an average of 2.46 progressive runs per 90 minutes this season too, this is because he isn’t scared to drive forward with the ball and shows surprisingly fluid footwork for a 6ft4in central defender. As he did against City towards the end of the season.
Featuring on the left, he enjoys a strong relationship with left-back teammate Ben Chilwell which is a striking asset in the defender.
The City left-back area has been an issue for some time, with Benjamin Mendy struggling with injuries since his arrival, opening the door for Oleksandr Zinchenko to make the position his own this season.
Yet, questions still remain as to whether he has the experience to be the long term solution in the area. Whilst those concerns rumble on, Maguire could more than aid who ever it is featuring on his left-hand side as he has done so successfully with Childwel.