João Cancelo’s magic on the Manchester City bench has drawn the attention of European clubs, who are watching whether the Portuguese fullback will be on the transfer market in the summer.
Cancelo, 28, was in the PFA team of the year as the best left-back last season, but has only appeared in one league game since the World Cup and was removed at halftime for Chelsea’s win. set.
A year ago, he had a long-term contract at the Etihad Stadium, whose contract was extended until 2027, while his status is being watched by Champions League clubs in Spain, France, Germany and Italy.
He can be expected to receive offers from Europe’s biggest clubs if given a move, as he has established himself as one of the best “turned-back” fullbacks under Pep Guardiola, who encouraged him to step into midfield in the middle of the match to dictate the game. .
After a slow start at Etihad Stadium, coming from Juventus in 2019, he has adapted to Guardiola’s playing style and has been a key part of back-to-back Premier League titles and voted for the PFA squad in both seasons. In one of his performances against Everton, he touched the ball 119 times to show how the reverse fullback can work.
Since his return from the World Cup, where Portugal also played as a substitute in the qualifying matches, Cancelo has been on the bench more than he played.
When Guardiola returned to action at Stamford Bridge, he played him in a more advanced role on the team, then kicked him out before City went on to win. He also kicked off the shock EFL Cup defeat at Southampton this week.
This isn’t the first time one of Guardiola’s veterans has fallen under the team’s spell. Although Riyad Mahrez’s future has looked uncertain over the past two seasons, he has remained at the club. The John Stones were forced back on Guardiola’s plans, and Aymeric Laporte had time on the bench. Even Phil Foden hasn’t had a steady start in recent months.
Guardiola said he chose his team based on the body language he saw on the training grounds of Etihad Academy. Manchester United.
“There is no room for any mistakes or bad performance,” said midfielder Ilkay Gundogan. “Hopefully if there’s anything good we can get out of this [Southampton] The game was like a wake-up call at the right time.
“While it’s sad and disappointing to get out of this cup, hopefully in a few weeks we can at least go back and get something good out of this game.”
Losing points against Everton and losing to Brentford before the World Cup timeout, City need to close the five-point gap to Arsenal at the top of the table. The latest results have brought into focus how Guardiola can make the most of England striker Foden and get Kalvin Phillips back in rhythm after missing most of the season due to injury.