Who Should Manchester City Sign As A Right-Back? 5 Possible Kyle Walker Replacement
Manchester City have been one of the best teams in the Premier League for the four seasons. They have won two of the last three Premier League titles, and are in second place this season.
One of the big reasons for City’s stable performances over the seasons has been the players that are in the team. Manchester City have the second most valuable squad in world football, according to CIES Football Observatory.
Most of the players playing in the team are world-class.
The Case Of Kyle Walker
A pacey, strong, and intelligent player, Walker has been one of those world-class players in the Manchester City team. The right-back has been one of the best players for Guardiola.
The Sheffield-born defender has evolved tactically and has enabled Pep to experiment with tactics in-between games and over the seasons as well.
However, inevitable as it is, age has started to catch up to him. The Englishman is now 30 and cannot continue to play to the best of his abilities in each and every game.
He will eventually get tired more often than when he was younger, and Manchester City will need someone else to take his place when he is not on the field.
Kyle Walker Replacement
Manchester City did try to fill Kyle’s void by signing the 25-year-old Joao Cancelo from Juventus for 65 million Euros in 2019. However, the transfer hasn't worked out too well.
Cancelo has made just 29 appearances in all competition, racking up 1996 minutes up until this point in the season. Those appearances include 15 in the Premier League, 6 in the UCL group stages, and 4 in both the FA Cup and EFL Cup.
Although Guardiola has backed Cancelo to be successful in the club, City would be in dire need of a good right-back if the Portuguese defender cannot make it.
And it will be farfetched to say that Cancelo is of Walker's level and he will begin to give continuous good performances in the short run.
Given the club are in need of a versatile defender who can fill in for Kyle Walker and give him more competition and the chance to rest in the upcoming seasons, here we present you a list of 5 right-backs who Pep Guardiola and Manchester City could target in the upcoming transfer window.
Nelson Semedo joined FC Barcelona in the summer of 2017 for a fee of 35.7 million Euros and has had a decent time in Spain.
During his first two seasons at the club under Ernesto Valverde, he was never really shown any trust and was always behind Sergi Roberto in the pecking order.
However, he has more or less been an undisputed starter in the right-back position since the arrival of Quique Setien in January of 2020.
During the 2019/20 season, he made 40 appearances in all competition until now, with 32 in La Liga, 5 in the UCL, and 3 in the Copa Del Rey. He is also the 9th highest for the total minutes played for the team with 2773 minutes played across all competitions. He has 4 assists in his name.
This is higher than his output during previous seasons—it means that he has improved his game, especially his passing.
His Passing Stats
Semedo could be an improvement for Pep’s team as he has great defensive numbers. He has recorded 1.66 successful tackles and 1.10 interceptions per 90 minutes in this season for Barcelona.
The right-back is the sole provider of width and support on the right flank for FC Barcelona. In the passing department, he completed 57 passes out of 63 attempted passes per 90 minutes with passing accuracy of 89 percent. He also recorded 0.55 key passes, 3.67 passes into the final third, and 0.35 passes into the penalty box per 90 minutes. Semedo also averaged 4.12 progressive passes and 0.10 crosses into the penalty box per 90 minutes.
On the attacking side of things too, Semedo has good output. He generated 1.47 shot creating actions per 90 among which 0.13 are successful dribbles that lead to shot attempts. He also has 0.95 successful dribbles per 90 and has a success rate of 66.7 percent. He averages 24.6 touches per 90 in the attacking 3rd of the pitch and 2.5 touches on the opposition penalty box.
These stats and his pace and athleticism are huge factors why Semedo can be a perfect fit for Pep Guardiola in the right-back area. At 26, he still has his prime years left ahead of him and can be a great addition to the team for now and for the future.
Pereira will be a good fit for Pep Guardiola for various reasons. At 26-years-old, Pereira is just about to enter the prime of his career. He has gained experience in various leagues with clubs such as Porto (won Portuguese league in the 2017/2018 season) and Nice.
Currently, Pereira is one of the best players in the Leicester City squad. After joining the Foxes in July 2018 for 22 million Euros, he has been the first-choice right-back for the team.
This season, Pereira had played all but one league game for the Foxes before his season was discontinued due to a cruciate ligament injury. He has been out of the team because of the injury since the 20th of June 2020.
When on the pitch, he had been highly productive for his team. In 33 matches for Leicester, he has played 3,030 minutes contributing four goals and three assists. He has also been involved in 60 shot-creating actions this season; he averages 2.14 SCA per 90. Similarly, he was involved in 9 goal-creating actions during the time he spent on the pitch.
This high chance creation rate is due to his passing and dribbling abilities. He completed 1513 passes out of 1875 this season. Out of them, 218 were progressive passes—he averaged 6.47 progressive passes per 90. Similarly, Pereira made 0.80 key passes, 2.85 passes into the final third, 1.13 passes into the penalty area, and 0.27 crosses into the penalty area per 90 this season. Likewise, he recorded 1.75 successful dribbles per 90 out of 2.61 attempts.
Similar to his offensive output was his defensive output. Pereira averaged 2.23 successful tackles and applied pressure 16.7 times. Because of his defensive prowess, the team could overturn possession 5.22 times per 90 minutes. He also recorded 1.48 interceptions and 2.8 clearances per 90 minutes.
Leicester Dip In Form
His injury has resulted in a fall in form for Leicester as well.
Since his injury, Leicester City have won only two of their last eight league games, drawing three and losing three.
Pereira is expected to return from his injury in August of this year.
An Ajax youth product, Sergiño Dest broke into the scene earlier this season after getting promoted to the Ajax first team. Since his promotion, the US International has been the first choice at Ajax primarily because of his talent in the position and partially also because of fitness problems of Noussair Mazraoui.
At 19, Dest is already a trusted player for Erik Ten Hag—a manager who has previously worked under Pep Guardiola. He has put up good performances for the team, especially considering the fact that he is in his first season with the senior team. Having made 27 appearances for Ajax, he has started in 21 of those matches and has gathered 2,031 total minutes under his belt. During his time out on the pitch, he has registered four assists.
Importantly, the passing and dribbling facets of his game are really impressive. He has 12.4 completed passes per 90 out of 14.7 attempts with a completion rate of 84.4 percent.
Averaging 0.80 progressive passes per 90, he also has 0.16 key passes, 0.47 passes into the final third, 0.13 passes into the penalty area, and 0.09 crosses into the penalty area per 90. As for his dribbling stats, Dest attempted 0.62 dribbles per 90— he completed 0.27 of them with a success rate of 42.9 percent.
In the defensive front, he winded 1.50 tackles per 90 and was involved in 4.82 pressures in that same time frame. Dest also has 0.97 interceptions and 0.26 clearances per game. He has recorded 61 ball recoveries till now in this season for Ajax.
Timothy Castagne is one of the players in the Atlanta BC side who has been in amazing form this season. The 24-year-old is naturally a right-back, but has played in various roles this season from left midfielder, right midfielder to left-back in the Atlanta team—who use various formations according to the opposition.
This continuous formational change adopted by Atlanta suggests that Castagne is a versatile player and has the tactical and positional awareness to play in any wider positions on the pitch. If he joins City, Guardiola is likely to appreciate his versatility. considering his positional play system.
As for minutes on the pitch, Castagne started 20 out of 28 games that he played for Atlanta this season—he has 1,892 minutes under his belt. In those minutes, he scored two goals and assisted two.
Castagne has phenomenal stats in offensive play. He has made 6.05 progressive passes per 90 this season. In addition to this, he made 1.57 key passes, 2.05 passes into the final third, 1.24 passes into the penalty box, and 0.52 crosses into the penalty box. He also has an overall passing accuracy of 84.1 percent.
His passing is one of the main reasons why his shot-creating actions are so high. He has been involved in an average of 2.43 SCA per 90 and 0.29 GCA per 90 as well. In addition to his passing, Castagne also dribbles pretty well. He attempted 1.33 dribbles per 90 and 0.76 of them are successful. His dribble success rate is 57.1 percent.
Castagne’s defensive numbers are good, too. He averaged 1.14 successful tackles, 0.67 interceptions, and 4.14 successful pressures per match. Similarly, he recorded 2.33 blocks and 1.29 clearances per 90.
In addition to these stats, Castagne also has Champions League experience under his belt. Having already faced Manchester City in the group stages, Atlanta BC are up against PSG in the quarter-finals of this season’s UCL.
All these qualities and experience should make Timothy Castagne a solid contender for the right-back position in any professional team.
Emerson (full name - Emerson Aparecido Leite De Souza Junior) has been in Guardiol's radar, according to Eldesmarque. On the other hand, Mundo Deportivo has reported that Barcelona were looking to offload him. If the move happens, Guardiola will have the perfect idea of how to use such a talent who has a Dani Alves-Esque playing style.
an undisputed starter at Real Betis—which is a team that finished the La Liga season in the 15th position during the 2019/20 season. In the 34 matches that he played during the season, he started 33 of them in 2,959 minutes spent on the pitch. In those minutes, he contributed three goals and six assists.
Most notably, his passing and offensive game have been great this season. He has a pass completion rate of 80.4 percent. In addition, he played 4.47 progressive passes per 90, provided 0.91 key passes per game, made 1.70 passes into the final third, initiated 1.52 passes into the penalty area, and channeled 0.64 crosses into the penalty area per 90 minutes.
Due to his great passing prowess, he is frequently involved in goal-and-shot-creating actions for his team. He was responsible for 1.73 shot-creating actions and 0.24 goal-creating actions per 90. His 52.5 percent dribble success rate per 90 also helped him to create chances.
Just like his attacking output, Emerson’s defensive performance isn’t bad, either. He has won 1.46 tackles per game and was involved in 3.59 successful pressures activities in that same time frame. Till now in this season, he has 1.03 interceptions, 1.73 blocks, and 2.43 clearances per 90 minutes on the pitch.
Emerson is a Brazillian right-back signed by Real Betis and FC Barcelona in July of 2019. Both the clubs have equal ownership of the player—he cost each six million Euros.
After the purchase, FC Barcelona allowed Emerson to stay on loan at Real Betis.