Manchester City need to find a solution at centre-back if they are to seriously challenge for the Champions League in 2014/15.
Captain Vincent Kompany is the best in his position across the globe, but this is insufficient unless a better partner is found.
Martin Demichelis has improved recently, yet remains a liability; Joleon Lescott is not favoured by Manuel Pellegrini and Matija Nastatic is injured as well as being fairly inexperienced.
Leadership, strength and positioning are just three of the areas Kompany excels in and alongside Pablo Zabaleta, the pair form a formidable barrier for the opposition attempting to attack down the left.
Gael Clichy has declined since City ended their 44-year wait for a league title in 2012 and Alexander Kolarov is able defensively, but more effective at flying forward and unleashing his ferocious left foot.
Chelsea were able to defend resolutely during their 1-0 win at the Etihad in February, and it seems the Citizens are unwilling to adopt a more defensive approach away from home.
Perhaps this is because they do not possess the personnel to achieve victories in big games through using a rigid system as Jose Mourinho does.
Ideally, Pellegrini will look at signing an established Premier League defender who can quickly settle at Eastlands. Jan Vertonghen, 26, has been impressive since joining Tottenham in 2012 and may look to join a bigger club as it’s unlikely White Hart Lane will be hearing the famous Champions League music next season.
As a fellow Belgian, Vertonghen has experience of playing next to Kompany at international level and this would arguably become the best centre-back pairing in the league if the move happened.
The former is strong, comfortable in possession and pretty mobile so would be a superb addition to a problematic area. However, Spurs fans have voiced their displeasure at Vertonghen’s current form, with some believing he looks like a player who wants to be elsewhere.
Only the left-footed player will know if this is the case. Whether this is true or not is irrelevant to City, as he was named in the 2012/13 team of the season in his first taste of the Premier League.
Usually defenders struggle to cope with the demanding tempo of English football in their first season. Per Mertersacker and Fabricio Coloccini are just two examples of having difficulty adapting to the Premier League. In this case, Vertonghen should be able to settle swiftly, particularly with Kompany beside him.
Pellegrini has a team full of flair and attacking talent. Now he needs to focus on signing less glamorous players in order to tighten up a leaky left side of defence.
Vertonghen may be the answer. Perhaps City’s captain will have some influence in recommending his fellow countryman.
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