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Philippe Sandler Completes Manchester City Transfer from PEC Zwolle

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistJuly 31, 2018

Philippe Sandler of PEC Zwolle during the Dutch Eredivisie match between FC Twente Enschede and PEC Zwolle at the Grolsch Veste on April 17, 2018 in Enschede, The Netherlands(Photo by VI Images via Getty Images)
VI-Images/Getty Images

Manchester City have added yet another talented youngster to their ranks after the Premier League champions confirmed the signing of 21-year-old Philippe Sandler from Dutch club PEC Zwolle on Tuesday.

The precocious and versatile defender's long-awaited arrival was confirmed on City's official website, with a deal reportedly originally agreed earlier this year.

The statement making note of Sandler's ability to play both centre-back and holding midfielder.

Sandler joins Claudio Gomes, the 18-year-old midfielder recently acquired from Paris Saint-Germain on a free transfer, as another young gem gets added to a deep and talented squad.

Football Oranje provided details about the fee:

Dutch Football @FootballOranje_

Manchester City finally announces the signing of Phillipe Sandler from PEC Zwolle. €3 million deal has been agreed since January. https://t.co/9WBtegYwmx

Having got his start in Ajax's famed academy, count on Sandler being capable and comfortable in possession. It's a quality sure to quickly endear him to City boss Pep Guardiola, who places his faith in players moving the ball neatly, efficiently and stylishly on the deck.

Sandler moved to Zwolle in 2016 and became a target for the Citizens earlier this year, with Voetbal International (h/t Michael Bell of Football-Oranje) first reporting a deal was agreed back in late January.

In March, Sandler likened the move and chance to work for Guardiola to something "like a fairytale," per Stuart Brennan of the Manchester Evening News.

Sandler may be excited, but the Netherlands U20 international is joining a crowded field at one of his favoured positions. City are well stocked at centre-back, with Nicolas Otamendi and Vincent Kompany augmented by John Stones, Aymeric Laporte and Eliaquim Mangala.

Sandler will join Eric Garcia as another young defensive option for City.
Sandler will join Eric Garcia as another young defensive option for City.Lynne Cameron/Getty Images

However, Guardiola likely has one eye on the future, with the 32-year-old Kompany being injury-prone. Guardiola may already have a young successor to Kompany on the books in 17-year-old Eric Garcia, per Richard Fay of the Manchester Evening News.

Otamendi is 30, and Mangala made just four starts last season. The latter has been offered to Fenerbahce, according to Turkish source Fotomac (h/t Richard Fay and Dan O'Toole of the Manchester Evening News).

Sandler may have more chances to earn playing time in the defensive areas of midfield. The position lacks new blood after City missed out on Jorginho, who signed for rivals Chelsea.

Sandler could also provide extra cover for holding midfielder Fernandinho, after City missed out on signing Jorginho.
Sandler could also provide extra cover for holding midfielder Fernandinho, after City missed out on signing Jorginho.Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

That has left Guardiola with few options behind Fernandinho. Gomes is unproved, while Ilkay Gundogan is better going forward and Fabian Delph spent most of last season playing left-back.

City haven't dipped too far into this summer's veteran market after paying £60 million to bring Riyad Mahrez over from Leicester City. Instead, Guardiola appears content to stockpile prospects for the future.

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