Why Nicolas Tagliafico would be a good signing for Man City
The 28-year-old had been linked with a move to the Etihad before the international summer deadline but Man City opted to postpone their pursuit of a new full-back after spending on the likes of Nathan Ake and Ruben Dias.
However, Pep Guardiola remains keen to bolster his left-back department during the mid-season trading window amid uncertainties over the futures of Oleksandr Zinchenko and Benjamin Mendy. (Sun h/t Daily Mail)
Nicolas Tagliafico shot to prominence with Banfield in the Argentine top-flight before establishing himself as a regular for heavyweights Independiente, where he won the Copa Sudamericana in 2017 and made over 100 appearances in all competitions.
The 28-year-old’s impressive displays in his homeland paved the way for a move to Europe with Dutch giants Ajax in January 2018. He has since accumulated 12 goals and 15 assists in 102 appearances.
Tagliafico was one of the cornerstones of Ajax’s fairytale march to the semi-final of the 2018-19 Champions League. He featured prominently as Erik ten Hag’s side won the Eredivisie and KNVB Cup double.
A full international for Argentina since 2017, Tagliafico has amassed 26 caps for his nation, representing La Albiceleste at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia and the 2019 Copa America in Brazil.
Tagliafico would sort out City’s left-back conundrum
Benjamin Mendy was tipped to establish himself as Man City’s long-term left-back when he came through the door at the Etihad from Monaco back in 2017. The Frenchman has been impressive in patches but has lacked the consistency and reliability to thrive under Guardiola’s philosophy where full-backs have a big part to play.
The 26-year-old has also had his career in English football blighted by several injuries, failing to start 20 league games in any of the past three seasons.
The Citizens roped in Joao Cancelo for a staggering £58m last summer but the Portuguese international has failed to make several matchday squads in the ongoing campaign after a lacklustre debut season at the Etihad. It remains to be seen whether he’s a part of the manager’s plans moving forward.
Angelino has also been deemed surplus to requirements after failing to make a positive impression last season while Guardiola hasn’t really shown a lot of confidence in Oleksandr Zinchenko, who is hardly a specialist in that department.
To put things into perspective, Man City can certainly do with more competition for places at left-back. A potential deal for Nicolas Tagliafico would go a long way towards solving a nagging issue in a key area of the pitch for Guardiola.
The Argentine international has earned plenty of plaudits as an offensive-minded full-back at Ajax, both in the Eredivisie and in the Champions League. Hence, the 28-year-old should be a perfect fit for Guardiola’s system that necessitates the wide defenders to venture further up the pitch and operate as auxiliary wingers.
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Nicolas Tagliafico still has several years remaining in his prime at 28. His impressive track record at Ajax means that Man City shouldn’t hesitate to meet the Dutch club’s £23m valuation of the left-back. He looks more than capable of displacing Mendy as City’s undisputed first-choice in a new-look backline that also features the likes of Ake and Dias.