Manchester City defender Nicolas Otamendi has fallen out of favour in recent months and appears to be edging closer to an exit.
When Manchester City signed Nicolas Otamendi on 20 August 2015 there was palpable excitement amongst the fans as the combative Argentinian joined the ranks. Here was a tough tackling defender bought to add steel to what had proven to be an inconsistent defence.
Initially Otamendi too appeared somewhat inconsistent and prone to a rash sliding challenge at key moments which has given birth to a thousand memes amongst Manchester City fans.
It did not help Otamendi that he joined City at the moment defensive stalwart Vincent Kompany saw injuries restrict his presence in the side.
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By the time Pep Guardiola arrived at City, Otamendi had developed into the most dependable central defensive option. There was a familiarity about his left sided central defensive positioning and he was part of a City side who soon thrived.
The 2017/18 season was Otamendi’s best in a City shirt and he was a key part of the team who blew away the rest of the League. Sadly, much of his stunning contribution in that season has been lost in the collective memory due to the more recent defensive mishaps which have blighted City in the last 12 months.
Some of the blame for the erratic later performances must fall at the door of Guardiola who has persisted with a defensive highline despite players not having the legs to cope with the consequences of losing the ball.
Otamendi has seen his value fall when the reality is almost any defender in the World would suffer if they were routinely exposed so far from goal. However, of course there have been times his lapse of concentration has been key to City’s undoing.
I still contend Otamendi could play a valuable defensive role in many teams who play a more solid and deeper back four. So it is no surprise to hear he may be nearing an exit from City.
Otamendi is 32 (33 next February) and knows his playing days are nearing their end. He also knows City view him as 6th choice centre back – behind Laporte, Ake, Fernandinho, Garcia and Stones.
As a vastly experienced defender – notching up 136 Premier League games in his 5 years at City and 70 International caps for Argentina, he will be in demand. The sticking point may well prove to be his current City contract.
Otamendi has 2 years remaining on his City deal and his wages are likely to be high in comparison to many other Leagues. So in order to move Otamendi will either need to accept a pay cut or secure a pay off from City.
When he signed from Valencia in 2015 City paid £40 million but today at 32 he would be likely to command a fee of just over £10 million. On those figures it is not a surprise Otamendi may be in demand.
His agent is the Portugese super agent Jorge Mendes and it is therefore not a surprise he is currently being linked with FC Porto. Such a move would be ideal – Otamendi may get to see out his career in the sunshine and City will get his wages off their books.
So a move for Otamendi is looking imminent and we wish him all the best. He has been a good servant for our Club so we salute ‘The General’.