Manchester City supporters have gone to the polls to voice their opinion on which player should be Pep Guardiola’s second-choice left-back from next season.
Benjamin Mendy remains the only specialist left-back the first-team have at their disposal, and since his anterior cruciate ligament knee injury in September, Guardiola has opted for five different players to play in his role.
Fabian Delph has rejuvenated his career following his switch to the full-back role as a dynamic midfielder. Oleksandr Zinchenko – a natural playmaker – has filled in the void left by Mendy and Delph whenever neither player was unable.
Brazilian right-back Danilo has regularly played in the position also this season, but could the answer to City’s fragility be staring them right in their face?
Spanish left-back Angelino is the preferred choice for the City supporters to have in their squad next season, despite interest in Southampton left-back Ryan Bertrand.
Poll: Who, if either, would you prefer at City next season?
— Inside Manchester City (@inside_mcfc) April 19, 2018
Angelino has been on loan at NAC Breda all season and added much needed minutes to his career. The 21-year-old has created 77 chances for the Eredivisie club, which is a league record since Opta began collecting statistics in 2010/2011.
To put Angelino’s record into context, Kevin De Bruyne has created 104 chances for Manchester City this season and the Belgian plays in a more attacking position than Angelino.
It remains to be seen whether Angelino is considered to be good enough for the club’s first-team next season or if the club will opt to move the player onwards. Angelino has spoken publicly about his desire to play first-team football next season with City valuing him between €10million to €15million.
Dutch champions PSV have considered moving for the league’s standout left-back, but City have priced them out of a possible move, which could be an indicator as to how highly City value his potential.
Angelino is expected to join Pep Guardiola and Manchester City on their pre-season tour in America this July, and it could be the ideal time for the 21-year-old to stake his claim in the champions’ squad next season.
Guardiola has regularly hinted at returning to a 3-5-2 formation next season and with defensive concerns surrounding Angelino, it could allow him to play in a more forward role with the protection of an extra centre-back.
If the Spaniard could secure his place in the squad, there’s no denying his defensive ability could only improve under the guidance of Guardiola.
On the contrary, City hold a ‘real interest’ in Southampton’s Ryan Bertrand and will make a move for the player pending on two factors.
Should the Saints be relegated at the end of the season and if one of either Fabian Delph or Oleksandr Zinchenko are sold, City could move for the English international, report El Chiringuito TV.
City hoped to move for Bertrand last season, but Dani Alves’ rejection in favour of a move to Paris-Saint Germain toppled the Blues’ transfer plans. Instead, City had to move their budget to ensure they signed two right-backs in Kyle Walker and Danilo to strengthen their squad.
The finances spent by City for Danilo ultimately forced the club to postpone their hopes for Bertrand and find another option within’ their ranks for the vacant secondary position to Benjamin Mendy.
It will be interesting to see whether City will buy Ryan Bertrand or bring back Angelino for the defence of their Premier League title. However, it’s highly plausible that City will not move for either player due to the form of Fabian Delph.
The supporters have spoken and now want to see Angelino return to the Etihad Stadium, and it’ll be interesting to see what occurs during next season.
Either way, whether it’s Fabian Delph, Angelino, Ryan Bertrand or Oleksandr Zinchenko, City will have a homegrown spot secured in whichever avenue they decide to persue.