Manuel Akanji: A Perfect Fit for Manchester City's Defense

CEO Tam DT
The recent injury to Nathan Ake during the match against Newcastle was a cause for concern at Manchester City. Although Ake's absence would be relatively short, it prompted the Premier League champions to embark on...

The recent injury to Nathan Ake during the match against Newcastle was a cause for concern at Manchester City. Although Ake's absence would be relatively short, it prompted the Premier League champions to embark on a last-minute transfer hunt. After ten days of searching, Borussia Dortmund's Manuel Akanji emerged as an unexpected choice for City. While he may not have been high on their initial shortlists, Akanji possesses the qualities that City were looking for.

City's summer transfer plans revolved around bolstering their defensive options, despite already signing two strikers and a midfielder. They considered Marc Cucurella as a top target, but plans were delayed when Ake's departure seemed likely. City knew they needed to secure a center-back before addressing other positions. Jules Kounde was a potential option, but Chelsea and Barcelona's interest complicated matters. Eventually, Ake decided to stay, and City deemed Cucurella too expensive, leaving them with 6.5 defensive options.

Pep Guardiola may not have admitted it publicly, but the injuries to his central defenders were a cause for concern. Behind the scenes, City began the search for an additional center-back. They were looking for a player with a specific profile – someone with extensive experience who could adapt to a higher line and press. Enter Manuel Akanji.

Akanji, a 27-year-old Swiss international with 41 caps, expressed his desire not to renew his contract with Dortmund. His wage demands deterred potential suitors, but City managed to reach a compromise. Akanji is physically strong, comfortable on the ball, and excels at shorter passes and ball retention. He can carry the ball out of defense and started his career as a winger. His arrival in Manchester brings versatility and a unique skill set to City's backline.

Image Manuel Akanji (27) brings experience and versatility to Manchester City's defense.

Despite not being known for his aerial ability, Akanji's strong partnership potential with players like Ruben Dias, Aymeric Laporte, and Kyle Walker makes him an excellent fit for Guardiola's team. With the ability to speak multiple languages, he can easily communicate with his teammates, fostering strong chemistry on and off the pitch. His adaptable style of play and tactical fit within the team make him an asset for City's back four.

Image Manuel Akanji's tactical suitability and potential partnerships with his teammates according to Sentient Sports.

Guardiola values the character of his players as much as their skills. Akanji's likeability and intelligence make him a valuable addition to the squad. City understands the importance of dressing room harmony and the impact it can have on performance and morale.

City's recent defensive setbacks have highlighted their need for depth in the squad. Laporte's return is still a few weeks away, and City cannot afford further injuries to their central defenders. Akanji's arrival helps alleviate these concerns. However, with five center-backs vying for playing time, managing their roles and keeping them content will be a challenge for Guardiola.

City's decision to pursue Akanji late in the transfer window shows their commitment to strengthening their defense. While he may not have been their initial target, Akanji's potential and fit within the squad made him an attractive option. Manchester City fans can now welcome Manuel Akanji to the Etihad Stadium, a signing that brings both experience and versatility to their backline.

(Additional reporting: Mark Carey)

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