Recently, Manchester City signed former Porto FC central defender Eliaquim Mangala, which can only mean one thing for the reigning champions — somebody has to go.
Accordingly, Manuel Pellegrini has allowed young central defender Matija Nastasic to entertain offers. One team that is jumping at the chance is Arsenal. After losing Thomas Vermaelen to FC Barcelona last week, Arsenal and Arsene Wenger have been actively looking for a long-term replacement.
Nastasic is 21-years-old and brings a lot to the table. At 6-foot-2, 174 pounds, he has the great combination of quickness and toughness. However, Nastasic is coming off of an injury-plagued season in which he only saw 13 league games. Pellegrini is obviously concerned with Nastasic’s fitness over an ankle injury, which set up the Mangala transfer.
Mangala has a similar body type to Nastasic and is two years his elder, but possesses very similar athletic abilities. Mangala started for the France during this World Cup and proved to be quite extraordinary on the back line. Manchester City has reportedly paid £31.9 million for him, making him the most expensive defender in Great Britain. Mangala will start alongside Vincent Kompany as soon as he is 100 percent fit, which will put Manchester City’s back line in a very advantageous position.
City will have Micah Richards, Gael Clichy, Aleksandar Kolarov, Bacary Sagna and Pablo Zabaleta to compliment Kompany, and I would assume Zabaleta and Clichy will get the nod on the right and left side.
This could mean that Karim Rekik, another young center-back, may be on the move as well. He has been placed on loan from Manchester City due to the number of center-backs on the team. Since 2011, Rekik has only seen one appearance for the club and has been on loan to three separate teams since 2012. This seems to be the norm for Manchester City: bring in young and very talented players, not play them, put them on loan and have their talents run out at the club, which forces players to want out of Manchester City.
In a way, the Mangala signing is good and bad. Good in the sense that City now have a long-term center-back, and bad that City have plenty of good center-backs waiting to get a chance to make an impact.