Pep Guardiola is already thinking ahead to next season, despite five games remaining in the existing one for the new Premier League champions.
Speaking at his pre-Swansea press conference earlier today, Guardiola said: “Now it’s the time to start to think about the squad. The same people, new people, new staff, new training sessions – we have to change a few things to make a step forward and that’s the challenge.”
One thing Guardiola may be thinking about is the left-back position. Benjamin Mendy is almost ready to return, but how will his fitness be next season? And will Guardiola continue to use makeshift left-backs Fabian Delph and Oleksandr Zinchenko in reserve?
Reliable Spanish journalist Jose Alvarez revealed last night that City retain an interest in Southampton left-back Ryan Bertrand – but might there be a homegrown option that could do the job of deputising for Mendy?
The player in question is Spanish youngster Angeliño, who has been impressive on loan at NAC Breda this season and who City rate highly enough that they value him between €10million and €15million.
While he is playing at a standard well below the Premier League, his skill set is well-suited to a Guardiola side, particularly if the Catalan presses ahead with plans to use the 3-5-2 more often. Angeliño has been regularly dispatched as a left wing-back by NAC coach Stijn Vreven this season.
And a 3-5-2 system requires productive full-backs going forward as they essentially substitute for wingers. Just how productive is Angeliño? The answer is very.
Dutch outlet Voetbal International revealed a stat courtesy of Opta today that highlights just have creative Angeliño has been for NAC Breda this season.
Angeliño has created 77 chances for NAC Breda in the Eredivisie this season, more than any defender in the entire league since Opta started to collect this data (2010/11).
Unfortunately for the 21-year-old, his teammates have converted only 5 of the 77 chances he has created, but that is no fault of his and it is clear that Angeliño, who compares stylistically to Barcelona’s Jordi Alba, is a very talented left-back.
To put his 77 chances created into context, that is an incredible 26 more than anyone else, with PSV Eindhoven’s Colombian international Santiago Arias ranking second with 51 chances created.
Is he good enough to work his way into City’s first team plans for next season? He recently claimed he is ready to take his chance and may have the opportunity to impress Pep Guardiola and his coaching staff during the pre-season tour of America.
Manchester City are the 2017/18 Premier League Champions!
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