Why Manchester City should have signed Kostas Manolas in the summer
Back in June, the Metro had claimed that Manchester City were interested in signing defender Kostas Manolas from AS Roma. However, a move didn’t go through and he ended up joining Roma’s Serie A rivals Napoli in the summer.
Kostas Manolas, 28, arrived in Rome from Olympiakos in 2014 and has been a regular in the first-team since then, making over 200 appearances for the Serie A side. He didn’t win anything in his time with Roma but has won two Greek Super League titles during his time with Olympiakos.
Now with Napoli, the Greek international hasn’t had the best of starts, with the 28-year-old being a part of the defence that has conceded seven goals in the first two games of the new Serie A season. Yet, Manolas is a vastly experienced defender that Manchester City should’ve signed in the summer.
City lost their skipper Vincent Kompany at the end of the last season on a free transfer, as the Belgium international decided to return Anderlecht as a player-manager.
Kompany’s departure left Pep Guardiola with Aymeric Laporte, John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi as the only options at centre-back. Regardless of that, Guardiola went against buying a new central as he splashed big money on Rodri and Joao Cancelo.
Well, Guardiola’s decision has certainly backfired as Aymeric Laporte has suffered a serious knee injury and is expected to be out for some time now.
Otamendi and Stones, who finished last season as the third and fourth-choice centre-backs, will become the go-to partnership for Guardiola in Laporte’s absence. But two defenders will not be able to play every game in four competitions, so the Premier League champions need other options.
That’s when the signing of Kostas Manolas would have made sense. Even if Laporte wouldn’t have been injured, Guardiola’s decision to not sign a replacement for Kompany was always going to be risky.
And the choice to not reinforce the backline has gone against the Spanish tactician, currently leaving him with just two centre-backs ahead of a gruelling campaign.
A commanding presence, Manolas is a real leader on the pitch and is excellent when it comes to playing out from the back, a trait that is essential in Guardiola’s system. He’s a good header of the ball in both boxes and has a good turn of pace to recover himself from dangerous situations.
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The Greek is a solid defender with bags of European experience, and he would have been perfect to challenge Stones, Laporte and Otamendi for a place in City’s starting XI.
However, as things stand, City have made a big mistake by not signing Manolas in the summer. The matter of fact that Guardiola not getting a Kompany replacement was a gamble that has literally not gone as planned.