Manchester City lost midfield stalwart Yaya Toure after refusing to renew the 34-year-old’s contract at the Etihad Stadium following a disappointing season that saw the team rely too frequently on the ability of 33-year-old Fernandinho.
The Blues are yet to move in the transfer market for a central midfielder following the snub from Napoli midfielder Jorginho in favour of a move Chelsea.
Nonetheless, City refused to budge from their original valuation of Jorginho which forced Napoli’s hand in agreeing to a deal for the player with Chelsea, ultimately leaving Guardiola without a prime target.
But City must move in the transfer market should they hope to possibly win another Premier League title and more ambitiously aim to capture a first Champions League crown.
The club has since denied reports linking them with a move for any other player this summer, however, Guardiola himself confirmed there was a possibility they could sign another player this window but ruled out a move for Juventus midfielder Miralem Pjanic.
“Pjanic is a player at Juventus. We are not interested in him. We still have a few weeks until the end of the transfer window. We are going to decide but at this moment, we are good enough. We have players in each position. We will see in the last days whether we will sign one player or wait.” Guardiola said.
The market is a tough one to negotiate in currently and with players overpriced by their respective clubs, why don’t City move for a player whose valuation has decreased dramatically but the potential for quality is clear for all to see? Step forward Borussia Dortmund’s Julian Weigl.
The central midfielder came to Dortmund when he was 19 years old in 2015 without any experience in the Bundesliga. In fact, he had only narrowly avoided relegation to the 3. Liga with 1860 Munich which says it all about the level he had been playing prior to his €2.5million move.
Under the guidance of coach Thomas Tuchel, the teenage Weigl was granted the freedom of the Dortmund midfield that saw him draw comparisons to Barcelona icon Sergio Busquets. His ability to control the game from midfield in Tuchel’s attack-minded side saw the ability of Weigl come to the forefront of the watching world.
His second season in Dortmund was not as smooth as his first simply because of the team underperforming nature and Tuchel’s apparent boardroom struggles. Weigl’s performances felt more restricted and the player, who averaged a 91% pass accuracy, was struggling to cope with the pressure and injuries began to take issue with Weigl.
A long-term ankle injury kept him out of the beginning of the 2017-2018 season where Peter Bosz had taken charge after Tuchel – Weigl’s greatest influence – was dismissed from his post as Dortmund head coach. The 22-year-old struggled to dominate in a team that was driven more so by defence than his fluid attacking football of previous regimes.
On the ball, Weigl typically has two passes of choice that he relies upon again and again: long, diagonal balls to the wings and mid-range balls played on the ground in the centre.
The former often end up with full-backs on the overlap, allowing Weigl to stretch opposing defences with ease. Such passing style in a Pep Guardiola team would flourish simply because of the devastating attacking nature of Benjamin Mendy and Kyle Walker respectively.
He always shows a competent understanding of which spaces to occupy and which to open, where connections are required to bridge the structure most effectively. He doesn’t often drift away from the three central columns, as a central position theoretically gives him the best capacity to connect as many team-mates as possible.
Weigl moves often to create links between his team-mates, creating a more connected positional structure and increasing the capacity for players to interact with one another.
When Weigl fails to win possession, many people fear his physicality – or lack of for that matter – are a cause for concern.
However, the player’s intelligence to create tactical fouls at crucial times often see him overcome scenarios when the opposition break free behind the midfield he is defending.
Guardiola’s side during the 2017/2018 season became famous for their tactical fouling of players which ultimately caused them to regain positions in the field before play resumed.
At just 72 kg, he gets pushed off the ball far too easily at times and may be required more muscle mass to compete at the highest level of European football.
Weigl’s transition from 2.Bundelsiga to the Champions League with consummate ease in 2016 means a switch to the Premier League shouldn’t prevent too many difficulties for Weigl, should it occur.
At his current age, there’s no denying his capabilities could elevate him to the highest level of European football and amazingly improve City’s style of football under Guardiola.
The pass master is in clear need of a tutor and there is no one in world football better than Pep Guardiola for creating world-class talent. Whether or not City are interested, or Dortmund are willing to sell, remains to be seen.