Why Ederson is now Manchester City’s most important player
In his time at the Etihad Stadium, Pep Guardiola has put together what is possibly the strongest squad in Premier League history. His side is filled with superstars, and he has an embarrassment of riches in almost every position. However recent events mean no one is more important to City than Ederson.
It was only last summer that City signed Ederson from Benfica for a fee of £35 million, a then-record for the amount an English club had paid for a goalkeeper. He was superb for City last season, and played a crucial role in them romping to the title, and in doing so becoming the first team to reach 100 points in a single Premier League season.
The goalkeeper is such an important part of the way Guardiola likes to play his football. At Barcelona he had Victor Valdes, who was excellent with the ball at his feet, and at Bayern Munich, his ‘keeper was Manuel Neuer, who is widely accepted as the best sweeper keeper of his generation.
After discarding of Joe Hart before he’d made an appearance under Guardiola, the Spaniard turned to Claudio Bravo, bringing him in from Barcelona for £17 million. The Chilean did the job with his feet, but his shot stopping was poor, and it was no surprise that he was replaced after just one season at the Etihad.
Ederson was an excellent addition, and was superb for City throughout the season. He was exactly what Guardiola was looking for in a ‘keeper in terms of playing the ball out from the back, and he made some crucial saves throughout the season.
However, after the injury to Bravo earlier this week, that will likely see him be out of action for a number of months, he is now the most valuable member of that squad, simply because there is no senior replacement available if he is unable to play.
As the transfer window is now shut, City are left with what they’ve got, unless they can find a free agent suitable of doing the job. Diego Cavalieri was released by Crystal Palace at the end of last season, having been third choice ‘keeper at Selhurst Park. Stuart Taylor, who spent three years with City between 2009 and 2012 without playing a league game, is also a free agent having left Southampton.
As for the current squad, 20-year-old Englishman Daniel Grimshaw may have to take up a place on the bench, despite having never made a senior appearance. He is highly rated at the Etihad though, and recently signed a three-year contract extension at the club.
However highly rated he is, the last thing Guardiola will want to have to do is to use him in a Premier League match. Something very noticeable that Ederson bought to that team last season was stability. With uncertainty over the goalkeeper the previous year, the defence was all over the place, because they had so little confidence in their goalkeeper.
Grimshaw may be a good young goalkeeper, but if he is to come into the City side in the league, teams will no doubt target him. He will likely cause uncertainty amongst the back four, even one that was so strong last season.
In short, City cannot afford to be without Ederson for any period of time over the next few months. For this period of time, however good any of the players in that squad are, no one is more important to Manchester City than Ederson.