On his day, Vincent Kompany is seen by many as the best centre-back in the world, but now might be the time for Manchester City to say farewell.
Manuel Pellegrini recently revealed, as quoted by the Daily Mail, that the City captain might not return from injury until the "last part of the season".
Pellegrini said: "I don’t think he will be ready before a month. We are trying to do what we can to recover him as soon as we can."
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Should they keep hold of him this summer? The City boss has a tough call to make.
It's a familiar saying with injury-prone players, 'on his day'. 'On his day he is the best centre-back in the world'. 'On his day, Daniel Sturridge is world-class'. 'On his day, Andy Carroll is a real handful'.
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Unfortunately for these players and their team, 'their day' doesn't come too often. Kompany has managed only nine Premier League games for City this season.
In order to be considered the best centre-back in the world you have to be playing week-in-week-out, winning major honours and performing consistently each season.
Something you can't say the City leader has been doing. He has managed to lift the Premier League title twice in the last four years, but the Champions League has eluded the Sky Blues.
Of course that's not entirely his fault, but if he had played the first-half of each of the last two seasons, he might not have been as rusty for the clashes against Barcelona.
He has all the attributes to be the best central defender in the world, but without showing it on a frequent basis, surely he can't be considered the best?
Heavy wage, can't rely on him, age
You can't rely on the former Hamburg defender. City are coming up to possibly one of their most successful periods in their history.
While it's easy to forget the remarkable rise the club have made already, with Pep Guardiola seemingly the favourite for the City Job in the summer, they could be about to embark on European glory.
Will that success include Kompany though? You would be mad to discard him, because he is strong, quick, good in the air and reads the game exquisitely, but if he isn't going to be there in the latter stages of the Champions League, can you build a team around him? .
The current Bayern boss will want a settled back-four, in order to win major titles, you need to be resolute and difficult to beat at times. When Guardiola is planning his City side, does that team-sheet include Kompany?
Of course it would if he is fit, but relying on him to be fit is another matter. By resting your faith in a player like Kompany, you're assuming you don't need anyone else in that position.
Regrettably that is the sticky situation City have got themselves into. On paper before the season starts, you look at Pellegrini's side and think, yes they have Kompany at centre-half they don't need reinforcements there.
The reality is, you're immediately delving into the depths of your squad in the middle of the season. Leaving Pellegrini to choose his third or fourth choice defender, because the Belgian international is so frequently on the sidelines.
With Kompany, you're almost starting the season with three central defenders. Considering two of the three, Eliaquim Mangala and Martin Demichelis, have struggled, as well as integrating a new signing in Nicolas Otamendi, it's not hard to see the reasons behind why the Manchester club are struggling defensively.
Kompany's presence in the City squad probably makes Pellegrini hesitate the need for signing another defender. Guardiola, if he does in fact join, might have to plan his side with Kompany as a back-up or not in the squad at all.
That seems like a crazy statement, but the Belgian is approaching 30-years-old and on a reported £200,000-a-week, you can't be paying that kind of money, for someone who is going to miss most of the campaign. Even if you do have as much money as the City juggernauts do.
Experience, leader, dressing room
There is no doubting Kompany's quality on the pitch, but his value off the pitch is just as important. He is a massive character for the dressing room, has tremendous experience domestically and on the international stage.
City would be very reluctant to lose that, so if the City owners don't mind keeping him on a hefty salary, then he could still be very useful as a back-up.
That way his games can be tailored so he is fit and ready for the big matches, while also signing a reliable central defender who can play in the majority of games.
Someone who they should and could be looking at, is John Stones of Everton. It seems as if every European powerhouse is after the young defender.
He is incredibly composed, reads the game well like Kompany, and has plenty of time to learn the game. With Kompany's guidance in the background, Stones could really become the best central defender in the world.
The City talisman is clearly a fan-favourite. No one will want to see him go, but soon his time will be up. He will go down as a City legend regardless, as he led his side to their first title in 43 years, but how much does he have left to offer?
On the pitch, he might not have a lot left to give, because it's increasingly difficult to rely on his fitness, but certainly off the pitch, he could build the new generation of City players.
It's certainly too early to sell him, but regarding him as your number one centre-back, is probably something you can no longer do.
What should City do with Kompany? Give YOUR opinion in the comment box below!
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