Manchester City are prepared to battle it out with city rivals Manchester United for the services of Borussia Dortmund defensive ace Marc Bartra, who is expected to leave the club this January, as per reports.
The former Barcelona centre-back has been deemed surplus to the requirements by Dortmund head coach Peter Stoger, following the signing of Basel starlet Manuel Akanji. However, with time running out, both the Manchester clubs will have to act quickly in order to secure his services.
Manchester City, in particular, have shown a lot of ambition to sign a centre-back this January, with Pep Guardiola not really favouring Ellaquim Mangala.
Marc Bartra, therefore, could be an ideal addition to the Sky Blues as head coach Pep Guardiola has the experience of previously working with the defender, during his time at Barcelona.
As you would expect from any La Masia graduate, Marc Bartra is blessed with superior technical qualities. He is tailor-made for Pep Guardiola’s possession-based football, considering his impressive ability of circulation possession as well as decent build-up qualities in the back.
Furthermore, Marc Bartra is very much familiar with the Juego de Posicion – style of play, often executed by the Catalan mastermind. The 25-year-old can also be an apt backup for the likes of John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi. The frequent injury troubles of Vincent Kompany and lack of ball playing qualities of Ellaquim Mangala clearly hasn’t helped Pep Guardiola this season.
Therefore, Bartra’s acquisition will be a breath of fresh air not just for fans but for Pep Guardiola as well.
However, that being said, Marc Bartra, despite his superiorities in build-up play, has struggled a lot in the past few years. Often being criticized for his lack of positioning sense, the former Barcelona defender is not actually a great defender. His decision making during the pressing phases is questionable and the 25-year-old often gets outdone by quality attackers.
For a team like Manchester City, who are heavily banking on their defensive solidity under Pep Guardiola, the acquisition of Marc Bartra will definitely be questionable. His lack of defensive endeavour coupled with his horrid positional sense is not well suited to Guardiola’s positional play. Although he is an excellent passer of the ball and his laser passes can often cause trouble for the opposing defence, he is by no means a world class defender who can further solidify the Man City defence.