Why Eliaquim Mangala MUST stay at Manchester City next season!

Why Eliaquim Mangala MUST stay at Manchester City next season!
Apr 8, 2016

Featured Manchester City

Since arriving from FC Porto in the summer of 2014, it is fair to say that Eliaquim Mangala has fallen far short of the big expectations placed on him. However, some City fans, including myself, are still of the opinion that the Frenchman has all the right attributes to thrive under new manager Pep Guardiola. That may occur as a result of an entirely new position, a new formation or even with a fresh defensive addition to the City squad. Here’s several reasons as to why Eliaquim Mangala must remain at City come the start of next season.

In the Premier League, there are some attributes that one could say all defenders must have in order to be a success. The most common are usually pace and athleticism. Eliaquim Mangala possesses both. His pace has been showcased on several occasions, most recently in the Champions League against Paris Saint-Germain, when the Frenchman was able to keep up with the likes of Ángel Di Maria and Blaise Matuidi. In addition to the pace that he has in abundance, Eliaquim is a very athletic defender with huge amounts of energy and strength that, when combined with his pace, can make him a quality defender with the correct guidance and morale boosting feedback. City manager Manuel Pellegrini is the latest individual to praise Mangala despite the criticism that he often receives from City fans and pundits. “I don’t think the price made a difference for him. He is a very young player, he is adapting to a difficult league in the Premier League. He (Mangala) has all the conditions to be a very important player here and I am sure he will improve in every season he plays in the Premier League.”

Some could say there have been defenders who have had even worse starts to their careers in the Premier League. The large majority of City fans will remember the disastrous time that Jérôme Boateng had at the formerly named ‘City of Manchester Stadium’. He was actually more well known for his comical injury involving an aeroplane drinks trolley as well as his reputation of shying away from tackles. Since leaving the club, the German defender has thrived at the Allianz Arena and is now widely regarded as being one of the world’s best central defenders. This is another reason why I feel that Mangala should certainly get at least one year under Pep Guardiola’s guidance – to avoid the embarrassment of seeing him thrive under new surroundings. Guardiola also tends to enjoy implementing a ‘three at the back’ formation – a set up that desperately requires at least two quick centre backs in order to operate successfully. This could be the ideal scenario for Eliaquim Mangala, especially if he were to operate on the left of a back three.

In fact, there isn’t much work for Pep Guardiola to do in order to make Mangala a solid and successful defender at City! His main downfall has been his positioning in the large majority of games that he has featured in. However, in the early stages of the 2015/2016 season, Mangala and Vincent Kompany did show signs of forming a formidable partnership. This came just at a time when City had purchased yet another central defender, Nicolás Otamendi. In fact, the pairing of Mangala and Kompany went five consecutive games without even conceding a single goal. It took the 2015 Champions League finalists, Juventus, to break down this defensive pairing. So there is in fact the evidence to suggest that Eliaquim Mangala can become a quality defender as long as he receives a string of confidence boosting games under Pep Guardiola. It would only take the incoming manager to give the Frenchman the correct guidance/coaching, regarding his positioning, before we could see Mangala live up to his full potential.

One of the major factors that one could say should allow Eliaquim Mangala to stay at Manchester City, is the idea that there are in fact other positions that need strengthening more than the centre of defence. One of these is in fact the left back position. By keeping Mangala at the club, a minimum of around £30 million could be saved by not securing a deal for the currently injured and widely reported City target Aymeric Laporte. In fact, the club would only have to sign one central defender in the summer, John Stones from Everton for example, and operate Jason Denayer (Currently out on loan at Galatasaray) at right back to have themselves several solid defensive options. Despite it being more of a radical idea, Mangala could in fact have adequate enough characteristics to operate at left-back on certain occasions, allowing City to possibly push on for the signature of both Stones and Laporte. Despite not being good enough going forward, Eliaquim has all the right attributes to become a very good left-back mainly down to his defensive mindset and athleticism. However, it is quite obvious that it would not be suitable for Mangala to start every single game as a left-back, but some would feel he has the potential to be a more than capable back-up for Gaël Clichy.

In conclusion, it is hugely important that City don’t see a repeat of the Jérôme Boateng case, where we see another defender thrive after leaving the club on a low point. For that reason alone, it is crucial that Pep Guardiola gives Mangala time to prove himself, even if that is only between the start of the 2016/2017 season up until the January transfer window of the same campaign. Eliaquim Mangala certainly has all the right characteristics or foundations to become a top central defender, and a large majority of City fans will agree with me in hoping that Pep Guardiola does bring the best out of the Frenchman.

But what are your opinions on the possibility of Eliaquim Mangala remaining at City next season? Tweet your opinions and article feedback to @Beardamendi

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