Manchester City beat off competition from Borussia Dortmund to sign highly-rated Ukraine midfielder, Oleksandr Zinchenko, a year ago and the signs were good in pre-season that the club had picked up a gem – and for low cost, with FC Ufa agreeing to sell him for just £1.7 million.
Zinchenko’s potential was recognised by the fact that Dutch champions PSV Eindhoven wanted him on loan for the 2016-17 season, a move City were happy to sanction as they sought a good platform for him to develop on.
Unfortunately, the 20-year-old has had something of a nightmare season, playing very little for Phillip Cocu’s side. In total, he has made only 11 Eredivisie appearances, totaling 449 minutes – that is the equivalent of five full games in the Dutch top-flight.
Zinchenko has tasted Champions League football, getting game time against Bayern Munich and playing the full 90′ against Atlético Madrid in November, but he has failed to make a first-team appearance for PSV since early March, and plays most of his football for their reserve team in the second division – where fellow City kids such as Manu García, James Horsfield and Ashley Smith-Brown are also on loan.
With so little game time, where does his future lie? PSV sporting director Marcel Brands has spoken about the possibility of a second loan term for the City youngster.
“We have yet to make a final decision on Oleksandr,” Brands told De Telegraaf.
“If we can’t offer him more game time than this season, we might be better off giving his place to one of our own youngsters.”
PSV are known to sell key players – recent examples including Memphis Depay and Georginio Wijnaldum – and a decision on if Oleksandr remains for a second season could be determined by who they plan to sell this summer. From City’s perspective, they will want next season to be more productive for Zinchenko, even if it means stepping down a level.
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