In the next of our Manchester City The Fourmidables Series, we take a look back at a breakout season for left back Oleksandr Zinchenko.
It’s been a crazy 12 months for Manchester City left-back Oleksandr Zinchenko.
It was not even a year ago that it looked like he may be departing the club on a permanent transfer. Back in August of last year, Manchester City had agreed to a £16 million fee for him to be sold to the newly promoted Wolverhampton Wanderers. Given that City had what they thought to be two left superior left-back options to him at the time (Benjamin Mendy and Fabian Delph), nor did they have an obvious spot for him midfield, it seemed like a smart move for both player and club.
Zinchenko, however, had other ideas. Despite the potential of getting more playing time elsewhere, Oleksandr Zinchenko rejected the offer. He decided, instead, that he would stay and compete for a spot in the team, just like he had the season prior.
It was a massive gamble for the young player to make. Though he had managed to get into the squad during Manchester City’s title-winning campaign in 2017-18, he only made it in to the starting XI because of an injury crisis at left-back. Had Benjamin Mendy not tore his ACL so early in the season, he may not have sniffed the match day 18 at all outside of the Carabao Cup.
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Even when he started for the club, he did not look like a clean fit at the left-back position. Though he provided some threat in attack, he was often exposed on defense, particularly when he was left isolated on the wing. This wasn’t a surprise to see given that he was being asked to play out of his more natural position as an attacking midfielder. This left him as the left back choice only when City were playing against an opposition who weren’t strong going forward.
Zinchenko’s gamble, however, paid off. Nearly ten months removed from that fateful decision, Zinchenko is now one of the team’s most reliable and preferred full-back options. Rather than being put up for sale, the team is now looking to give him a contract extension. His bet on his own abilities couldn’t have worked out better!
Let’s take a look back at his breakout season.