Manchester City has been linked with a sudden move for outcast Borussia Dortmund, Manuel Akanji. Will he be just the second disastrous center back in Manchester?
City are close to agreeing a €17.5 million deal with the Swiss international, as first reported by David Ornstein, as the English champions prepare to get the 27-year-old for a low price as Dortmund’s contract expires next summer.
Akanji hasn’t played a minute of Bundesliga football this season, with Dortmund signing Niklas Sule and Nico Schlutterbeek from Bayern Munich and Friborg respectively this summer, adding them to a stable central defense that also included Mats Hummels.
Akanji doesn’t appear to have any ahead despite being on the transfer list, but with City reduced to the back following Aymeric Laporte’s knee surgery, Pep Guardiola has decided to bolster his defensive options.
🚨 EXCLUSIVE: Manchester City are close to concluding an agreement with Borussia Dortmund to sign centre-back Manuel Akanji. An optimist deal will be concluded with Swiss Int’l for €17.5 million. The 27-year-old was scheduled to become a free agent next summer #MCFC has passed Tweet embed #BVB https://t.co/izVyzDggA5
– David Ornstein (@David_Ornstein) August 30 2022
Is Akanji any good?
Up until this season, Akanji was a regular first-team player at Dortmund, helping him reach second place behind Bayern Munich in the last four Bundesliga seasons and lift the DFB Cup in 2021.
He and Abdou Diallo were excited together when Dortmund won the title by just two points under Lucien Favre in 2018/19, and it was at the club’s expense when they allowed Diallo to go to Paris Saint-Germain for an eventual €32 million. From that season they re-signed the Dilapidated Hummels.
Hummels is still one of the best defenders in the world with the ball at his feet, but the pace has never been to his strong suit and he is now slower than ever at 33. Dortmund haven’t come close to ousting Bayern since.
Even if he had to keep an eye on Hummels last season, Akanji still shines on a number of fronts that would appeal to Guardiola, with 73 passes per game – an average of four of them progressive per 90 – putting him in the top 90. The percentage of players in his position by those league-level metrics.
What about Maguire?
Maguire has been left out by Manchester United despite being confirmed as captain of the club by Eric ten Hag this summer. In the two games since then, United have halted corruption, achieving back-to-back wins over Liverpool and Southampton.
Maguire shines in three defenses with England, but he made 16 errors that led to a goal in the heart of United’s four-man defense last season. While doing his best of three, Akanji’s “problems” began when Dortmund tried to force him into one through Hummels’ wreckage in the defense line.
Akanji is a bit of a math genius with his quick accounts that make it fun to watch on social mediaBut you don’t have to be an expert on autism to realize he has a chance of succeeding in Manchester in a way that only Maguire could dream of.