With left-back still an issue for Manchester City, Nicolás Tagliafico remains on the radar.
Although the initial rumors of Manchester City pursuing the signing of Ajax left-back Nicolás Tagliafico were far too close to the deadline for anything serious to come of it, the club are reportedly still interested in the Argentine defender.
Per City Xtra, Tagliafico remains an option in January as the club weigh their choices at arguably the weakest position in the team right now. The Tagliafico rumors started mostly following several consecutive poor performances from Benjamin Mendy, who I do not believe should or will be first-choice going forward.
That honor would belong to João Cancelo, who despite being a natural right-back is simply a much better footballer than Mendy. I thought playing on the left, which the Portuguese had done during his time at Juventus, was a primary reason for his signing last summer. While it took until the second half of the season for him to feature there, he was clearly the best left-sided fullback at the club and likely would have been starting had he been fully fit.
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After playing 90 minutes for Portugal and keeping a clean sheet against Spain, I believe Cancelo looks ready to go. Therefore, if he performs to his potential, I do not believe left-back will be as big of a concern as it is right now, allowing City to potentially focus their spending on summer deals for players such as Erling Haaland and Dayot Upamecano for next summer.
If a player like Mendy or Oleksandr Zinchenko were able to be moved on for around the fee that would be demanded for Tagliafico, I would have no problems brining in the Ajax defender. I believe he would be an upgrade on both of the current options and would present a true test for Cancelo, as well as a long-term solution once Kyle Walker drops off and the Portuguese takes over on the right.
Therefore, Tagliafico is a good player, but I believe that given Cancelo’s talent, potential, and ability, City’s crisis at left-back is overblown. Mendy is simply not good enough for a team of this caliber, and while that has been exposed in all three of the league games so far, I envision much more stability at the position once he is out of the team.