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Manchester City are reportedly interested in bringing in a holding midfielder and are closely watching Ruben Neves, Frenkie de Jong and Tanguy Ndombele.
According to James Robson at the Manchester Evening News, the club only plan to bring in one player over the next two transfer windows and signing a midfielder to “ease the pressure on Fernandinho” is their top priority.
Manager Pep Guardiola has been monitoring the trio after missing out on midfielders Jorginho and Fred in the summer transfer window, per the report.
City’s interest in a holding midfielder makes sense. Fernandinho will turn 34 in 2019, and the club do not have a natural successor to the Brazilian in the squad.
Adam Crafton at the Daily Mail noted how that could be a problem:
Adam Crafton @AdamCrafton_
Fernandinho brilliant (as always) for City yesterday. But they don’t have backup for him & he’s 34 next. Perhaps he/Ederson are only injuries that could truly derail them. And longer term, where will they find someone who covers ground, intercepts and dominates games like him?
Fernandinho is a key part of the Manchester City squad and has helped the club to two Premier League titles and three League Cups since joining from Shakhtar Donetsk in 2013.
Guardiola has previously spoken about just how important the midfielder is to the team. Per Paul Wilson at the Guardian, he said: “If a team had three Fernandinhos, they would be champions. We only have one and he is very important to us.”
Neves has been a big hit since joining Wolves from Benfica in summer 2017. Scouted Football showed how impressive the 21-year-old has been:
Scouted Football @ScoutedFtbl
Rúben Neves (21) has completed the joint-most long balls in the Premier League so far this season.
2018-19 in the Premier League:
• 73 long balls
• 67.6% success rate
2017-18 in the Championship:
• 362 long balls
• 70.7% success rate
New league. Same Rúben. https://t.co/R9lrrgPT9I
At just 21, Neves is relatively inexperienced at the top level, but he has bags of potential. While Wolves would not want to lose one of their biggest assets, they are unlikely to be able to resist a big offer from Manchester City.
De Jong is another highly rated talent who has attracted interest from Europe’s top clubs. The Netherlands international is reportedly an absolute priority for La Liga champions Barcelona, according to Sport‘s Javier Giraldo.
WhoScored.com highlighted just how good in possession the Dutch star is:
Frenkie de Jong: No player has a better pass success rate than De Jong (92.9%) in the Eredivisie this season
For more player stats — https://t.co/bxHlmKeKeQ https://t.co/S24bwxXO4q
Ndombele is another option for Manchester City. The Lyon midfielder has also attracted interest from Paris Saint-Germain:
Indy Football @IndyFootball
The president of Lyon is hardly playing down rumours rising star Tanguy Ndombele could soon leave the club…
“Of course PSG can consider making an offer. It is the player who decides where he wants to go.” 👀 https://t.co/Ek3Z5aTBoi
Bringing in a holding midfielder would be a smart move by Manchester City. The club have become increasingly reliant on Fernandinho, and a younger option is required to allow the Brazilian to rest and ultimately replace him in the team.