5 Players that can replace Fernandinho at Manchester City
Another game, another special performance by City’s heartbeat, Fernandinho. The man is probably the first name on the team sheet for Pep Guardiola.
The way he outmanoeuvred both the Arsenal attack and the midfield, he made them look like men against boys. The Brazilian constantly played in multiple positions throughout the game; integrating into a back four when Man City were under the cosh while once the ball was won, he would be the one to initiate their attacks.
Fernandinho’s positional play and his innate understanding of Pep’s system makes him stand out in such a fantastic team. His importance was visibly evident when Man City suffered back to back losses at the hands of Crystal Palace and Leicester City at the end of December in absence of the Brazilian.
Subsequently, Fernandinho returned for the top of the table clash against Liverpool and stamped his authority with a Man of the Match display. It speaks volumes about the man, as in a match containing the best attacking players of the league, it was the Brazilian who took the game by the scruff of the neck.
Despite all the adulations, Pep will be silently worried about the fact that his midfield general turns 34 in May. He knows that the Brazilian won’t be able to go on forever, so he needs a younger alternative, a player who can learn from the master and go on and replicate his successes.
On that note, we take a look at five players that the Citizens can target for replacing the Brazilian:
#5 Ilkay Gundogan
What if City already possesses Fernandinho’s alternative within their own ranks? Ilkay Gundogan might just be the player who steps up and replaces his club-mate. There’s a starting advantage of already being familiar with Guardiola’s demands.
The German international possesses the same if not a better set of attacking qualities as Fernandinho, but it is his defensive contributions that need a bit of improvement. Working on improving his tactical awareness and a better reading of the game could help Gundogan reach his teammate’s levels.
Yet, his recent performance against Arsenal suggests he could learn the trade quicker than expected. The only factor that could hinder his progression is his long tryst with injuries.
A series of serious back and knee injuries during his time both at Dortmund and City means Pep can never fully trust the midfielder to stay fit for an entire season.
If fit, the tenacious midfielder could be a great choice for Guardiola to replace Fernandinho as he loves an intelligent midfielder, be it Busquets at Barcelona or Philipp Lahm at Bayern.