Picking a Manchester City Team To Best Exploit Fernandinho

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Picking a Manchester City Team To Best Exploit Fernandinho
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The £30 million signing of Fernandinho by English title contenders Manchester City kicked off the transfer window in dramatic style for the Premier League, with the Brazilian's arrival a major statement of intent by Manuel Pellegrini's side.

The logical assumption, as detailed here by Bleacher Report's Sam Tighe, is that he will slot into the side alongside Ivorian midfielder Yaya Toure. After all, neither player is likely to spend much time on the substitutes' bench next season.

One possible Man City setup

However, it would be a selection that would carry much risk. With both players primarily known as box-to-box style midfielders, their use in a double pivot at the base of midfield would require both to reign in their natural urges.

In doing so, though, both would be taking away from their most effective roles on the football pitch. The natural assumption would be that one of the duo would anchor the midfield at all times—but that is something neither player would see as their best ability.

This therefore raises interesting questions over the signing of Fernandinho. Given that Yaya Toure was already regarded as one of Europe's best box-to-box players, it is intriguing that they should then sign another player who is renowned for playing a similar role.

That is not, of course, to say that they could not function in those roles within the same side. If Pellegrini were to implement a three-man midfield with a permanent anchor at the base, then two box-to-box players could be accommodated.

Likewise, if Toure were to move forward into an attacking midfield role, Fernandinho could happily form part of the pivot alongside a defensively-minded midfielder—as he has done so effectively for Shakhtar Donetsk.

Neither option, though, can be considered likely—even if they would free the Brazilian to play his most natural game. With the club's plentiful resources in attacking areas, and their pursuit of further talent, it is unlikely they would choose to utilise a valuable attacking position on accommodating midfielders.

Therefore, unless the plan is for Fernandinho to replace Toure within the City starting lineup, the duo will almost certainly be used as a pairing at the base of midfield.

How, then, can Pellegrini use the Brazilian in this role and still ensure that he is able to influence the game as hoped?

Shaun Botterill/Getty Images
Toure: Question marks over his role

The answer lies with Toure, who must play a much more disciplined and consistent role than in the past. Should the Ivorian consistently drift forward, as he has so often in his career at the club, then Fernandinho will be inhibited due to his defensive requirements.

If Toure is able to balance his urges to surge forward, in order to allow his midfield colleague similar opportunities, then the partnership could work—at least at Premier League level.

The 2012-13 season was not Toure's best in a Manchester City shirt, with too many games passing him by for a player of his repute and ability. If the arrival of a direct competitor does not serve as a wake-up call, then the club's best-paid player could find himself heading rapidly for the exit door.

Considering the scale of investment in Fernandinho, it is a little strange that they are unlikely to use him in his most familiar role this season. What the Brazilian will do, though, is highlight Toure's inconsistencies of recent times.

If his arrival can inspire the destructive Ivorian to perform on a more regular basis, then there could be a double benefit to his capture. For the moment, though, the question of midfield balance is just one of many issues for the incoming Pellegrini to consider ahead of the big kickoff on August 18.

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