Manchester City look set to miss Aymeric Laporte for the reminder of 2019 after the centre-back underwent knee surgery in Barcelona.
The French centre-back injured his cartilage and lateral meniscus when he fell awkwardly on the ground after a challenge on Adam Webster in City’s 4-0 victory over Brighton on Saturday.
The 25 year old was hailed by Man City manager Pep Guardiola as ‘Europe best left-sided centre back’. Such has been the impact of Laporte since signing for City from Athletic Bilbao in January 2018.
The Premier League Champions will miss the influential defender and City find themselves short of cover in the position now with John Stones recovering from thigh strain and only Nicolas Otamendi fit among the three senior centre-backs. Vincent Kompany left the club at the end of last-season to become a player-manager at boyhood club Anderlecht.
John Stones might recover in time for Man City’s next game against Norwich City, thanks to the international break. For the next three months,
Pep Guardiola can call upon the services of youngsters Eric Garcia and Taylor Harwood-Bellis, if needed. The manager has also used Fernandinho in the position and it is worth noting that Walker has played as a right-sided Centre-Back for England.
Kyle Walker has been in scintillating form and has kept new signing Joao Cancelo on the bench. It is believed that Pep Guardiola rates Fernandinho highly and the versatile Brazilian will be his third-choice centre-back for the next three months.
Manchester City looked at the possibility of signing a fourth centre-back but opted against launching a bid for Harry Maguire who later signed for Manchester United. Pep Guardiola confirmed City did not have the funds to sign Maguire. He said “We cannot afford it like other teams can afford it. I never complained about that. We paid a lot of money for a lot of players, that is why we have a deep squad with a lot of quality. But you have a limit. Maybe in the future, but right now we cannot do it.”