So we’ve been on quite the ride this summer in terms of our centre-back options. Despite getting Nathan Aké completed early in the window, there’s still been the looming, Vincent Kompany shaped hole in the squad which has needed filling.
For nearly two months, this hole was due to be filled by Kalidou Koulibaly – a strong, physical presence in the backline which was so clearly missed when Kompany left the club. His propulsion to worldwide acclaim under Maurizio Sarri, however, showed that he is much more than a physical player and, despite a poor season under Gattuso, the quality to play in a system such as City’s is very obviously there.
Most importantly, as you can see from his below FIFA21 FUT rating, he’s 88 rated. Do you know who else is 88 rated? Nobody. Van Dijk is 90 rated, Ramos is 89 rated. Therefore, Koulibaly is officially the world’s third best centre-back in the world. Pay whatever Napoli want for this kind of quality, he’d cost at least 80k FIFA coins!
Anyway, two months of attempting to negotiate with Napoli and their mental owner, Aurelio De Laurentiis, even though the club went through Koulibaly’s agent so that Txiki wouldn’t be tempted to throw a chair at his head, was too much for City’s guys to handle. It appears Txiki and the lads were just repeatedly offering Napoli £60m with bonuses and wondering why Napoli weren’t accepting it, whilst Napoli were repeatedly asking for £80m and wondering why City weren’t offering it.
Personally, I think this makes Txiki a world-class fraud. Who cares if De Laurentiis was asking for £80m? Give the man £100m, we need a centre-back, open the oil taps, Sheikh Mansour!
More options were needed and, when talks with Napoli appeared to be hitting an inevitable brick wall, attention turned to Jules Koundé – a world-famous centre-back who everybody has definitely heard of at *checks Wikipedia* Sevilla.
At first it seemed like City were just playing chicken with Napoli, playing the classic, “I don’t need you, I’ve got several other girls on Tinder just begging for me to go out with them,” card. Only rather than begging City to take them back, Napoli were quite happy to call City’s bluff. “It’s fine!” De Laurentiis shouted from his balcony as Txiki got into his car to leave. “Go! I don’t need you, I’ve got PSG who will give me all the money in the world!”
No time at all had passed before Twitter was awash with rumours that PSG had GAZUMPED Manchester City by offering what Napoli want for their Senegalese centre-back. However, nothing’s actually happened since those reports and I very much doubt it will. Napoli will be the poor sods left with their world-class centre-back while City go and give another football club a lot of money for their player instead.
General opinion was that Koundé is not as tall as Koulibaly. According to Wikipedia, he’s under 6ft. However, what he lacks in sheer height, he makes up for in unbridled tekkers, as I know from the YouTube compilation of him that I managed to find.
Anyway, if Txiki pulls this deal off, he’ll be a 100% elite Director of Football. Getting this 21 year old saucy centre-back for £20m less than that overrated chump Koulibaly, who’s not even got hair, would be the finest piece of transfer business in the last decade. No, the finest piece of transfer business in history. As somebody who has known everything there is to know about Jules Koundé since approximately half an hour ago, I can tell you he’s the real deal.
Lessons had been learned from the Koulibaly deal, so we went in with a low offer that Sevilla would never accept. Almost half of Koundé’s release clause was not enough to make Monchi let their prize asset go. Even throwing Nicolas Otamendi into the deal and adding a drain on Sevilla’s wage bill into the mix wasn’t enough somehow to change their mind.
Anyway, after submitting a couple of offers, City soon decided that even more options were needed and turned their attention to Rúben Dias – the star centre-back of Benfica. And as we all know, buying the Portuguese League’s star centre-back has never gone wrong before, and you can look at the first letter of each of the last seven paragraphs for proof of this.
If reports in Portugal are to be believed (and they rarely are), City have already agreed a deal with Benfica with Otamendi due to go the other way. I’m sceptical that, given the state of the Portuguese press, a deal was able to be done so quickly and quietly. However, when Papa Mendes is on the case and has a swap deal involving two of his players on the line, anything is possible.
City Twitter was suddenly filled with pessimism. Apparently Rúben Dias is a massive idiot who isn’t even good with the ball at his feet. He’s a big lump who can’t even tackle. There’s even a video of him slide tackling a player nowhere near the ball doing the rounds on Twitter. With this two seconds of footage the only proof I need, my mind has been made up. Rúben Dias has achieved certified fraud status and, along with him, Txiki is back to being the fraud I always thought he was.
At first I thought that this was just Txiki once again playing the “I don’t need you, I’ve got several other girls on Tinder begging me to go out with them,” card with Monchi, threatening Sevilla with a bid on the pastel de nata Ryan Shawcross, and the fact that the Koundé rumours are still alive and well shows that it may well end up working. However, where City immediately knocked down the José Giménez rumours, it appears they have not done so with the Dias ones. Looks like the Benfica Titus Bramble is a legitimate option for the club.
Of course, all of this has been in jest. I actually have no idea how good any of these players are because I don’t spend my spare time watching every Napoli, Sevilla or Benfica game. There are a few people who do and maybe those people are worth listening to. However, your average City fan has absolutely no idea what the difference between these three players is. Everybody can look at stats and pretend they know what they’re on about, but they don’t really.
So, it’s time to employ my ace in the hole. I can, once and for all, tell you precisely which is the best of the three centre-backs. Which one should Txiki sign to ensure that he is not a fraud?
For this, I need the ultimate tool. The hub of all footballing knowledge. The ultimate database which is never wrong and can put a definitive numerical value on the quality of players. That’s right, it’s Football Manager.
Of course, Football Manager 2021 isn’t gracing us with its presence until mid-November, but the scouts over at Sports Interactive are notorious for spotting the gems before they come into prominence, so it shouldn’t matter that we’re only using Football Manager 2020.
First up, let’s take a look at Kalidou Koulibaly.
Heading, marking, tackling, anticipation, positioning, bravery, pace, strength. Everything a top quality centre-back could possible need in one huge 6’2 package. However, despite this, the scouting department clearly have concerns over both his asking price and his age, so he only gets a 64 rating from the scouts. A solid option.
Next up, we have Jules Koundé.
Look at him. What a joke. I no longer endorse the signing of this absolutely bang average footballer. His only stat which is 15+ is balance, which is quite frankly the least I expect of a top footballer. A 42 rating from the scouts. Txiki will be a certified fraudster if he signs this idiot.
And finally, we have Rúben Dias.
Strength. Marking. Tackling. Heading. Passing. Teamwork. Determination. Leadership. Aggression. Anticipation. Bravery. Natural fitness. All rolled into one silky, 22 year old, 6’2 package. Certified baller, right here. Txiki better hurry up with the negotiations, because this guy is going to be the real deal. A natural Ball Playing Defender too, perfect for Pep’s system. This guy is the one we should be looking at.
No longer is he the pastel de nata Ryan Shawcross. He is instead the Lisbon Laporte.
So, there you have it folks. I solved the mystery. Dias is the one. You’re welcome.
You can follow Joe on Twitter here: @joebutters
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