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Don’t Do It Pep – Why Manchester City Should Steer Clear From Signing This Ex-Manchester United Star

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Jonny Evans got relegated with West Brom. (Getty Images)

Manchester City, as has been the norm in recent years, have once again been the heaviest spenders in the Premier League this summer. The Sky Blues have spent big over new acquisitions in the ongoing transfer window, having brought in Ederson Moraes, Bernardo Silva, Kyle Walker, Danilo and Benjamin Mendy so far.  

However, it seems that Pep Guardiola isn’t quite done with his summer spending spree yet, as reports emerged earlier this week that the Citizens have had an offer of £18 million rejected for West Bromwich Albion defender Jonny Evans (BBC Sport).  

The Baggies’ manager Tony Pulis confirmed as much on Friday morning, on the eve of their clash against Burnley. As quoted by Sky Sports, he said: 

“They’ve made an offer which we’ve turned down. 

He also went on to add that if a bigger offer came along, there will be a chance that West Brom may consider selling their club captain. He said: 

“Every player is for sale at the right price. It is absolutely crazy to say a team like West Brom won’t sell players if people weren’t going to put an enormous amount of money in front of you. 

It does make sense that Manchester City are looking to add another central defender to their ranks, considering that Guardiola looks intent on using a three-man defensive system for the campaign.  

The system has yielded good results for the Sky Blues so far, with Vincent Kompany, John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi occupying the three positions from right to left, in that order. But they just have Eliaquim Mangala as the only backup in the centre-back department, which would leave them thinly stretched if someone was to get injured.  

But is Evans the right man to come into the squad? When you look at the positives, there are a number of them – his two-footed nature would mean that the Northern Irishman would be comfortable anywhere in the backline, is composed when on the ball, his rise to prominence since he left Manchester United for West Brom has also been commendable without a question and his experience in the Premier League is another reason why Guardiola and City would look at him as a viable option.  

However, there are a number of flip sides that come along as well, the chief among them being the doubts over his ability to cut it out for a big club. The 29-year old spent over eight years with City’s local rivals Manchester United, making 198 appearances for the club, but could never really establish himself as a key member of the team, despite Sir Alex Ferguson backing him time and again to make it big.  

Evans never really looked like he would go on to replace then defensive stalwarts Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand and following the departure of the old guard, struggled to fill in their shoes, under both David Moyes and Louis van Gaal.  

The Northern Irishman was a common denominator in most of United’s horrendous defensive performances in the latter parts of Ferguson’s career – the 6-1 annihilation of the Red Devils by City themselves at Old Trafford in 2011, springs to mind immediately, when Evans couldn’t handle Mario Balotelli and was eventually sent off.  

Yes, he has shown that he is a more matured character now and has earned his right to be the captain at West Brom following Darren Fletcher’s departure. But, as is the case with many a player, they are strong enough for a mid-table side but cannot step it up for a club that is aiming to challenge for domestic and European honours.  

And Evans too could very well be a player that belongs to this category – he has found his level at West Brom and is performing exceedingly well away from all the attention, the spotlight and the pressure that comes with playing for a huge club, the constant knit-picking of each and every performance that comes along with it.  

Assuming he does make the switch, can he fit into a three-man defence – a system that, till date, he has rarely played in and isn’t accustomed to? Even if City are considering to use him as a more of a backup, wouldn’t he still need to get enough game time to get used to the formation that is very much alien to him? And without regular playing time, the 29-year old could easily become a liability at the back when he does play.  

And imagine how the fans would react to a player who spent most of his career with the club’s cross-town rivals, on whom their club spent big money on, but is struggling to perform at the needed level. It wouldn’t take long for the Citizens’ faithful to turn on the former Manchester United man if he has a difficult start to life in the blue half of Manchester.  

Surely there are much better and younger options for City to consider, their former target Virgil van Dijk is still up for grabs and they have the spending power to easily outbid the other interested parties, I.e., Chelsea and Liverpool, for the Dutchman. Another of their target, Inigo Martinez could prove to be a better option as well, after his move to Barcelona fell through 

Signing Evans would be a move fraught with risk for the Sky Blues, and the chances are that the risks wouldn’t earn them the desired rewards.

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