Manchester City journalist Simon Bajkowski has shared some details on what Pep Guardiola did behind the scenes that led to the club landing a transfer deal for Manuel Akanji.
The Citizens signed the defender from Borussia Dortmund for a reported fee of £15m back in September.
With the centre-back recently landing his first Premier League title with Guardiola’s side and in with the chance of winning the FA Cup and Champions League as well, the origins of his move to the Etihad Stadium have come to light.
Bajkowski shares details on Akanji move
Speaking on a recent episode of the Manchester Evening News’ Talking City Podcast, Bajkowski said this on the matter.
He said: “How important was Newcastle away back in August and they drew 3-3?
“Nathan Ake got injured and Guardiola went to his bosses and said ‘I need another centre-back, my centre-back depth isn’t enough, [Aymeric] Laporte’s injured, Ake’s injured, can we rely on [John] Stones and [Ruben] Dias? I need another one, I know you weren’t planning on to one but can we have one please?’, and they signed some fella called Akanji from Dortmund who Dortmund weren’t bothered about losing and what a signing.
“£15m I think they got that for [Samuel] Edozie and [Juan] Larios going to Southampton. Would City be where they are without that decision back in September and Akanji coming in and just having an unbelievable year?
“It’s kind of another one of those moments where you think what if? It kind of transformed the year I suppose.”
Since arriving at the Etihad, the 27-year-old has featured in 46 of City’s games prior to tonight’s Premier League outing against Brighton & Hove Albion.
In fact, Akanji has played more minutes in the league than any other defender in Guardiola’s squad, showing how significant and prominent he has been for the team this term.
Across his 29 league appearances, the former Dortmund figure has racked up a higher combined total of tackles and interceptions (52) than any other defender at City, as well as having the joint-highest passing accuracy percentage in the entire division alongside Stones (93%).
With all of that in mind, it’s clear that Guardiola was not only right in asking his bosses to bring in another defender, but the people behind the scenes pulled off a major coup by sealing a deal for the Switzerland international given how impressive he has been.