Man City hot on trail of 24-year-old Bundesliga star – The right move by Guardiola?

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Why Jonathan Tah could make Manchester City more confident in defence

According to 90min (h/t Daily Express), Manchester City consider Bayer Leverkusen defender Jonathan Tah as one of their main summer targets.

Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola is on the hunt for some defensive reinforcements after a weak defence saw the defending champions fall behind European champions Liverpool.

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Jonathan Tah of Leverkusen runs with the ball during the Bundesliga match between Bayer 04 Leverkusen and SC Paderborn 07 at BayArena on August 17, 2019, in Leverkusen, Germany. (Getty Images)

Lack of an established centre-back seems to have cost City dearly as they have conceded 31 goals in 29 league games, putting them 25 points behind Liverpool for the title race. Guardiola had earlier refrained from finding a replacement for former skipper Vincent Kompany, who departed for his boyhood club Anderlecht last summer.

The Spaniard rather opted to go on with his side’s current set of defenders. However, he suffered a major setback early in the season after losing Aymeric Laporte to a knee injury. Laporte missed a lot of action, playing just seven matches in total.

This saw Guardiola rely on seasoned campaigner Fernandinho to play in the heart of City’s defence alongside veteran Nicolas Otamendi and John Stones. Inconsistency from Otamendi and Stones at the back has hurt the team badly, with the side losing both home and away against neighbours Manchester United and title contenders Liverpool.

Man City centre-back Aymeric Laporte instructs his teammates. (Getty Images)
Manchester City centre-back Aymeric Laporte instructs his teammates. (Getty Images)

Despite his defence remaining an issue, Guardiola chose to not spill the cash during the winter break.

Meanwhile, the 24-year-old Tah has been a mainstay in Leverkusen’s defence since his move from rivals Hamburger SV in the summer of 2015. The German had an impressive debut season for Leverkusen that saw them finish third that season.

Except for the 2016-17 season, in which he missed a few matches, Leverkusen have always finished among the top-five, which speaks volumes about the defender’s contribution to the Bundesliga outfit.

The established centre-back has played 21 times in the league this time and has seven clean sheets to his credit. His rock-solid displays at the back have seen Leverkusen concede just 30 goals in 25 league games. Leverkusen has the joint second-best defensive record in the league behind Bayern Munich.

Jonathan Tah of Leverkusen controls the ball during the Bundesliga match between TSG 1899 Hoffenheim and Bayer 04 Leverkusen at PreZero-Arena on February 01, 2020 in Sinsheim, Germany. (Getty Images)
Jonathan Tah of Leverkusen controls the ball during the Bundesliga match between TSG 1899 Hoffenheim and Bayer 04 Leverkusen at PreZero-Arena on February 01, 2020 in Sinsheim, Germany. (Getty Images)

Tah’s consistent displays thus make him a perfect fit at the Etihad, as it is clearly something Guardiola’s side lacks at the moment. Hence, City should pursue their interest in him and land the big defender.

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Verdict

City clearly need an established defender in their mix, with Otamendi clearly showing signs of ageing. Stones, on the other hand, has been hugely inconsistent. Considering all this, the young but experienced Tah could usher in some confidence to a backline that seems to be devoid of it.