Manchester City has been on the search for a marquee center back signing all summer after already adding Nathan Ake. And according to AS in Spain, they have put in a massive €89 million (£82 million) bid for Atletico Madrid center-back Jose Maria Gimenez.
Just a year ago, City set their transfer record when they brought in Rodri, also from Atletico, for £62.8 million. But based on their poor performances at the back last season, even City can't spend enough for the amount of help needed. And Gimenez would be a huge upgrade.
City Need Defensive Upgrade
Former City captain Vincent Kompany left the club ahead of 2019/20 after 11 marvelous seasons. And someone needed to pick up the slack. But they all failed. City's best center back Aymeric Laporte only featured in 15 Premier League and three Champions League games due to several injuries.
Fellow center back John Stones played 15 Premier League games and one in Europe partially because of injuries, but more because he isn't very good. And center back Nicolas Otamendi never convinced either. He did play in 24 English league games and eight on the continent, but mainly because the pesky laws of the game say you need eleven on the pitch.
So, the center back who picked up the slack the most, although not very well, was midfielder Fernandinho. He played the most games at center back, out of position, in any and all competitions for City. And boy did he look out of position.
The club know going into this year they have to beef up the defense if they want to challenge Liverpool to regain the title, but more importantly if they want to finally win the highly coveted Champions League.
Buying Ake from relegated Bournemouth was an improvement. But never for one second would he be the headline signing. And so for weeks, the rumors have swirled about City adding another defender. Either Gimenez or Napoli's Kalidou Koulibaly. And it seems City have decided on Gimenez. And for good reason.
Gimenez Oozes Quality
At 25, Gimenez has developed into a complete, strong defender, regularly averaging above a seven rating on both WhoScored and Sofascore. He's great in the air. He's tough physically and mentally. And, even more critical, his decision making is spot on. He doesn't make rash challenges. And he has cut down on the bookings in recent years.
As an added bonus, Gimenez poses a threat on set-pieces as well.
Plus, Gimenez has racked up the experience playing in the rigid and disciplined Atleti side under Diego Simeone, making it to two Champions League finals and winning one Europa League and La Liga title each.
He does come with two downsides though. First is Gimenez's injury history, missing significant time over the past couple of years. City don't need more injury-prone center backs. But they can't all get injured at the same time, can they?
Second is his ball-playing ability. Gimenez doesn't possess the passing ability City manager Pep Guardiola generally demands of his center backs. But if Laporte is healthy, and that's a gargantuan 'if,' that responsibility will fall to him and not Gimenez. Hell, give Ederson that responsibility if Laporte's out. He can do it.
City have to improve their defense and Gimenez is a pure, natural, and gifted defender. He would certainly amount to money well spent.