Manchester City are weighing up a move for Espanyol defender Mario Hermoso, it has been reported.
The Sky Blues have identified the 24-year-old as a viable backup option to Leicester City centre-back Harry Maguire, as per journalist Duncan Castles, cited by Spanish website Sport.
The left-footed centre-back has also been linked with a move to Spanish side Atletico Madrid, and has a release clause of €40 million.
Manchester City will be without Vincent Kompany next season, and were eyeing a move for Leicester City centre-back Harry Maguire. However, Leicester’s £90 million valuation of the player means Pep Guardiola’s side might have to look for cheaper alternatives.
Hermoso joined the Catalan minnows on a free transfer from Real Madrid Castilla back in 2017. He made 35 appearances for the club across all competitions last season, and was a key part of the team.
Would Hermoso be a good fit under Pep Guardiola?
Hermoso is a versatile player who primarily features as a centre-back and can feature as a left-back as well.
City boss Pep Guardiola is known for rotating his squad, and someone flexible like Hermoso would fit right in.
Hermoso belongs to the ilk of Spanish centre-backs who are technically strong, and are comfortable with the ball at their feet. Guardiola’s centre-backs are usually good players on the ball.
The 24-year old averaged a pass success percentage of 83.9%, and managed 4.9 long balls per game across all competitions last season.
Another thing which is impressive about the Espanyol centre-back is his ability to read the game. The Spanish international managed 1.2 tackles, 1.2 interceptions and 5.2 clearances per game last season.
Hermoso is 6 feet tall and is tough to beat in the air. He won 2.3 aerial duels per 90 minutes last season, and his set-piece prowess will help City as position teams often try to get the better of them in dead-ball situations.
The centre-back is likely to take a bit of time to adjust to the system as Guardiola’s side are adept at playing the ball out of the back even when teams play a high press, so he will have to make the best use of his limited chances in the first few months if he does sign for the club.
At 24, though, he has the potential and age on his side to become an important long-term player for the club.