Pep Guardiola identifies player he can transform into Manchester City's answer to Javier Mascherano 5 years ago

Pep Guardiola identifies player he can transform into Manchester City's answer to Javier Mascherano

Javier Mascherano, Javi Martinez... Fernandinho?

Wherever Pep Guardiola goes, he has a tendency of turning holding midfielders into pretty reliable central defenders.


Mascherano has become a mainstay in the heart of Barcelona's back four while Martinez now drifts back and forth between midfield and defence depending on Bayern Munich's requirements.

Celtic v Barcelona - UEFA Champions League

Guardiola has also experimented with Yaya Toure and Xabi Alonso as defenders in his time in Spain and Germany so it seems to be a relatively common trend.

And the new Manchester City boss has already identified the man he believes is capable of dropping back when numbers get thin in defence.


FC Barcelona v Betis - Copa del Rey

According to Guardiola, Fernandinho is versatile enough to play in any number of positions but would be particularly conducive to a defensive role.

“I think Fernandinho can play in 10 different positions, because he has the quality to play wherever,” Guardiola said. “He can play there [defence], he is quick, aggressive, intelligent and strong in the air.

“He has the quality to create good build-up play and can play a forward pass, so I think he has the quality to play there. Fernando can also play there, but maybe he is not as quick as Fernandinho.


Everton v Manchester City - Premier League

“So at the end of the window, we will have to see which players we have. But I think a lot of the midfield players we have here can play at the back, and when that happens the build-up play is much, much better.

“We need to create good build-up play, with easy passes in midfield, to achieve good passes for our strikers further up the pitch.

“I believe when the ball goes from a central defender to a striker, the ball comes back as quickly as it goes, and we have to make it clear that we are building up in our first process, whether that is defenders or midfielders, and that is why we need players of quality, to play in that style, and we have the players to do that. And I think by August 31, we will have the right players to play the way we want.”

Listen to our GAA podcast with Colm Parkinson. Click here to subscribe on iTunes.