Bayern Munich defender Holger Badstuber has been linked with a move to Manchester City, ESPN have reported.
Having worked with Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola during his tenure at Bayern Munich, Badstuber could prove to be the ideal January signing as he already knows the Spaniard’s preferred style of play.
On Friday night Guardiola’s City crushed a lacklustre West Ham side 5-0 to progress in the FA Cup. This game saw the Citizens really clicking for the first time since their excellent run of form at the beginning of the season.
Such a performance would suggest Guardiola doesn’t need any attacking reinforcements in the January transfer window. However, there have been question marks over City’s vulnerability at the back all season.
Captain Vincent Kompany has been seen more frequently in the stands than on the pitch this term due to his prolonged struggle with injury. The big Belgian was the cornerstone on which City have built both of their title-winning seasons; without him their defence has looked rudderless.
Reliable options at full-back are also scarce. Pablo Zabaleta, Bacary Sagna and Aleksander Kolarov are all showing signs of decline with Gael Clichy the only full-back performing to a decent level.
City’s central defenders have been guilty of a massive amount of individual errors already this season, with John Stones perhaps the main culprit. The elegant, ball-playing centre-back has fallen on the sword of his own reputation far too many times this season.
Be it slack back passes or his generally casual approach to the game, the promising defender has been directly at fault for too many goals. He’s young so making mistakes is natural but with no commanding presence beside him to help him along he’ll continue to do so.
Man City’s massive outlay on Nicolas Otamendi hasn’t proved a wise investment. Having built a solid reputation in La Liga with Valencia the Argentine defender has been anything but solid in England. Time and time again he’s been caught making fundamental errors, constantly out of position, readily showing the number on his back to attackers, and given the ‘hard as nails’ reputation he arrived with he’s extremely lightweight in the tackle.
Taking all of this into account Man City have looked vulnerable at the back since the start of the season.
Badstuber is not without his critics, the big German isn’t the quickest across the pitch. However, in stereotypical fashion he is extremely efficient both in the tackle and use of the ball. He may not be the most spectacular choice, but he does tend to avoid individual errors. He could just be the calming influence Guardiola needs to bring out the best in Stones, advising him when to play out and when to just lay it off safely.
After trouncing the Hammers on Friday night Guardiola told the press that ‘there were no names on the table’ regarding transfers.
Going on to discuss Badstuber he said (via ESPN):
“We are evaluating if there’s a chance to take one. I know Holger, he’s a fantastic player, a fantastic guy, but he’s a Bayern Munich player, and we should first of all speak with them and with him.”
Pretty standard procedure for a manager trying to get a deal done. The 27-year-old wants regular first team football, Man City need a solution to their defensive frailties.
This move could be the best option for both parties in this transfer window.
Stephen Vaughan, Pundit Arena