Pep Guardiola has explained why the signing of Manuel Akanji was a necessity despite Manchester City already having four ‘incredible’ players in his position.
Manchester City capped off their summer transfer activity by signing Akanji from Borussia Dortmund on deadline day. The Switzerland international became their fifth new recruit of the summer after former teammate Erling Haaland, plus Kalvin Phillips, Sergio Gomez and Stefan Ortega.
News of Manchester City’s interest in Akanji only emerged late in the transfer window. It also came as something of a surprise after his alternative transfer links previously; the Premier League champions had never really been mentioned as contenders while the likes of Arsenal and Manchester United were.
But Manchester City’s pursuit was successful in the end. As a result, Guardiola can now call upon Akanji as a member of his star-studded squad.
The centre-back will add to their plentiful options in the position, where they already have Ruben Dias, Aymeric Laporte, John Stones and Nathan Ake.
Clearly, Manchester City are well stocked there. But head coach Guardiola felt that some injury issues within the department meant they needed to enter the transfer market to get through the next couple of months in particular.
Guardiola told a press conference: “Yes, we had an incredible four central defenders before Manuel.
“Aymeric has a tough injury and is still a month, month and a half away, and Nathan still has muscular problems. So we could not face this busy schedule with just two central defenders.
Pep Guardiola has already witnessed Manuel Akanji qualities
“We had a chance to bring someone with one year left on his deal. He is fast and really good in the build-up. We saw this when we faced Dortmund three seasons ago.
“We are glad he is here.”
The previous matches against Dortmund that Guardiola was referring to took place in the 2020-21 Champions League quarter-finals. His side won 2-1 in both legs.
Akanji started and lasted all 90 minutes of the two fixtures, so has already experienced playing at the Etihad Stadium. Now, he can call it his home ground.
And although his signing came as a consequence of a short-term need, they clearly trust him for the long-term too. Indeed, Akanji signed a five-year contract when becoming a Manchester City player.
Guardiola was speaking ahead of Manchester City’s next Premier League match against Aston Villa, which will take place on Saturday in Birmingham.
Their first home game since the arrival of Akanji will be a week later on September 10, when they welcome Tottenham Hotspur to Manchester after both clubs will have been involved in Champions League fixtures in midweek.