Five replacements for Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany
Holly Thackeray | 11 December 2016
Five replacements for Vincent Kompany at Man City
No sooner had Manchester City skipper Vincent Kompany returned from injury, than the Sky Blues centre half was sidelined yet again with a knee ligament ailment. With his defender not due to return until the beginning of January, Pep Guardiola may be wise to now act on rumours he is to replace the big Belgian in the winter window.
City may be strong in attack, but the Premier League title race could get away from them if they don’t tighten up defence. Both of Eliaquim Mangala and Nicolas Otamendi have proven to be lacklustre partners for talented but still wobbly John Stones, with full backs like Aleksandar Kolarov occasionally shoehorned in to central positions.
As a consequence of captain Kompany’s extended absences and odd tactical reshuffles, Guardiola’s guys (12/1 to win the CL) have kept just five clean sheets across all competitions and managed only two shut-outs in the PL.
So, Coral recommend five fine replacements for Kompany at Man City, as a top class and fit centre back increasingly looks like the last piece of the Etihad puzzle…
Virgil van Dijk
Southampton’s Van Dijk could be just the tonic for Man City’s defensive diagnosis and the perfect winter recruit to reinforce Guardiola’s ramshackle rearguard.
Strong, quick, intelligent and robust, the Dutch defender has been a wall since switching from Celtic to Saints in 2015, but has particularly excelled this year, keeping the likes of Romelu Lukaku quiet.
The Breda-born centre back once contributed 10 goals in a single season for the Bhoys, a knack of helping out at both ends of the pitch that could see him curry favour with his potential Catalan coach.
Saints’ star player also reportedly has a release clause of just £25m, which should make his purchase a no-brainer. Used to being the more physically dominant defender in a pairing with wily Jose Fonte, Van Dijk would be a perfect foil for Stones. But, the only drawback is that Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool are all said to be chasing him too.
This rumour seemed to go on all summer, as Bonucci distinguished himself in defence for Italy at Euro 2016, but nothing came of much apparent interest in the Juventus stalwart.
Part of the Old Lady’s indomitable BBC trio (with Andrea Barzagli and Giorgio Chiellini), Bonucci has won it all in Serie A and, at age 29, could be tempted to try a proper crack at the Champions League as well as pick up a PL-level pay packet. Arguably at his peak, the experienced international’s resilience and leadership could be invaluable if Kompany is to move on as expected.
Still, he hasn’t budged thus far and it would take a pretty penny to poach him. While, with Bonucci’s former Azzurri and Juve coach Conte installed at Stamford Bridge, City (3/1 to win the PL) would not be favourites.
Top prospects don’t come cheap these days but Colombia and Palmeiras defensive prodigy Mina could perhaps be parachuted in for a decent price.
Barcelona are believed to have first option on the Coffee Growers-capped defender which could complicate matters, but Man City should have a strong relationship with the Brazilian club as they recently purchased Gabriel Jesus from the same side, with the Samba Boy set to arrive in January.
Guardiola may want to be careful before adding another young-gun to his backline, but if Mangala and co aren’t to his tastes, there’s no reason why Mina could not be bought as well as an older pro.
The Citizens’ pursuit of Laporte did not end favourably over summer and there was uncertainty as to whether the Basque boy or Stones was Guardiola’s number one target for ball-playing centre back, or if he simply wanted both.
If City do still want to pair Laporte and Stones together for a tall and silky skilled defensive line, they may do better this time around as the Frenchman rejected the Northwest giants due partly to having only just returned from serious injury.
However a few months on the situation could have changed with Laporte stating: “It would have complicated things not to be 100 per cent. But, moving, changing the framework, it does not scare me, as I was not afraid to leave France at 15.
“Do I fear that my release clause (€50m) can block my departure? It could, but City was ready to do it.”
Centre half Sule is a name doing the Premier League rumour rounds at the moment, as the strong German defender has been outstanding for Hoffenheim, who are currently in the Bundesliga top four, at the tender age of just 21.
With one cap for Die Mannschaft already, the future of this towering defender looks bright, as his physique ready-made for English football.
Sule has been deployed on the left of a back three mainly this term, with his versatility in various formations likely to appeal to Guardiola. Unfortunately, it also appears to have captured Chelsea and Everton’s attention too, so the Sky Blues may have to move quickly.
Let us know what you think of our replacements for Vincent Kompany below.