An injury to Vincent Kompany in yesterday’s 4-0 win over Newcastle United at the Etihad has left Manchester City uncomfortably light in the centre of defence and increased their need to sign a defender to add some competition for places. City have had the best defence in the Premier League for the last two seasons, and they will want to keep it that way as they bid to regain the title.
Kolo Toure left and hasn’t been replaced, Matija Nastasic is currently injured and Micah Richards damaged his hamstring in training and missed the Newcastle game. At the moment, City’s only recognised match-fit centre-back is Joleon Lescott.
Kompany was holding his groin as he left the field but indicated later via his Twitter page that he doesn’t expect to be out for too long:
Team was great. I felt great. Injury is a blow after all the hard work. I'll be back to that level in no time. Thanks for all the support!.— Vincent Kompany (@VincentKompany) August 19, 2013
As revealed Friday, Nastasic is way ahead of schedule in his bid to return from an ankle injury sustained on the club’s preseason tour and should resume full training this week, but reinforcements are needed regardless.
Richards was left out of the squad after sustaining his hamstring injury—thought not to be a tear—in training Monday. The length of his recovery is not yet known, but it’s another frustrating setback for a player who’s had little luck with injuries in recent months.
Although predominantly a right-back, Richards is more than capable of moving inside if needed and would surely have been used as Kompany’s replacement Monday if he’d been fit.
Javi Garcia was the player who replaced Kompany, but he was rarely troubled by a Newcastle side completely overrun by City. Garcia played at centre-back last season, putting in a woeful performance in City’s embarrassing defeat away at Southampton, but he isn’t a recognised centre-back, and most City fans would rather not see him called upon.
Talk of Pepe arriving from Real Madrid has been widespread, but his age and price tag are causing consternation among the City faithful.
One player who City may be able to sign is Borussia Dortmund’s Neven Subotic, Nastasic’s Serbian international teammate and key component of last season’s Champions League run.
At 24, Subotic is six years younger than Pepe and already has outstanding European pedigree. Signed by Borussia Dortmund boss Jurgen Klopp in 2008, the pair had worked together previously at Mainz.
Klopp made his signing a priority, and he has since gone on to establish a reputation as one of the most reliable defenders in European football. He is strong and reads the game excellently, meaning his lack of pace is rarely a problem.
In their two title-winning campaigns, Dortmund’s defensive record was excellent, conceding just 22 and 25 in 2011 and 2012. However, last season that figure rose to 42. In 188 appearances for Dortmund, Subotic has weighed in with 15 goals.
It would be a difficult signing to pull off given his loyalty to Klopp and the recent success of Dortmund, but Subotic would be a great move for City.
One thing is for for certain: City must bring in a defender before Sept. 2.
Rob Pollard is Bleacher Report's lead Manchester City correspondent and will be following the club from a Manchester base throughout the 2013-14 season. Follow him on Twitter here @TypicalCity