EPL

Guardiola: Man City signing Sergio Gomez 'for now', not the future

By Sports Desk August 12, 2022

Pep Guardiola revealed Sergio Gomez will compete for a place in Manchester City's first team as he confirmed reports the Premier League champions are set to sign the young left-back.

City have reportedly agreed an £11million (€13m) deal to sign the 21-year-old Anderlecht player, having missed out on Marc Cucurella to Chelsea earlier this month.

Guardiola has been chasing another left-back to compete with Joao Cancelo since Oleksandr Zinchenko departed for Arsenal, with Atletico Madrid's Renan Lodi and Wolves' Rayan Ait-Nouri also touted as potential targets.

Although some have suggested Gomez represents a development project, with a loan move to Girona mooted, Guardiola is confident in his ability to contribute immediately.

"You know the club is always working on many possibilities and chances in all positions, and this one target is a young player," Guardiola said ahead of City's Premier League fixture against Bournemouth on Saturday. 

"In the [2017 Under-17] World Cup years ago, the best player was Phil Foden, and he was the second-best player in this tournament, then he played for Spain's under-21s.

"He was a young talented player from the academy in Barcelona, he went to [Borussia] Dortmund and didn't get many minutes, and the last year he played in the good hands of Vincent Kompany at Anderlecht and played really well.

"We targeted him and could bring him here."

Asked whether Gomez was one for the future, Guardiola responded: "No, for now, he's going to stay with us and will be alongside Joao, for left-back."

Full-backs have a vital role in Guardiola's team, with the ability of Cancelo to drift into the middle of the midfield seen as key.

Playing in this way, Cancelo laid on seven Premier League assists in 2021-22 – a tally only beaten by Gabriel Jesus and Kevin De Bruyne (both eight) among City players – and created 36 chances from open play.

He also topped the club's charts for passes ending in the final third (1,112 – over 300 more than second-placed Bernardo Silva's 769) .

Cancelo and Kyle Walker each impressed as City enjoyed over 75 per cent of the possession in a routine win at West Ham last Sunday, and Guardiola highlighted the way his full-backs must adapt against different opponents.

"It's not the first time I've done it; for many years, I've done it," he added.

"Last season, with a proper striker with Gabriel or Raz [Raheem Sterling] playing that, or with a false nine, we played it, too.

"And in many games, we didn't play it, and many games this season we are not going to play. It depends on the qualities of opponents, especially the shape of how they defend.

"The way we attack depends on how they defend. It's different to attack a four or five at the back, to see how the wingers behave, to defend narrow or wide – this affects your attack.

"You have to adapt. Since, I would say, at Bayern Munich, especially in the second season, I always used it many, many times."

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