Unforeseen Twist: Bayern Munich’s Change of Plans May Prompt Joao Cancelo’s Unexpected Decision and Manchester City’s Potential Reappraisal
Manchester City could receive an unforeseen decision regarding Joao Cancelo following a change in Bayern Munich’s situation with the player. Cancelo’s loan spell at Bayern Munich has encountered a setback, which could have implications for Manchester City’s plans.
When Joao Cancelo initially joined Bayern Munich on loan, there was a possibility that he could return to Manchester City. Although Bayern has the option to buy Cancelo, it seemed likely that he would move on given his strong start in Munich. Cancelo’s farewell message to City fans further hinted at his departure, despite both himself and Pep Guardiola denying any decisions had been made regarding his future.
However, Manchester City has coped well without Cancelo thanks to their successful deployment of a back three in the eight games since his departure. Nathan Ake has been a standout player for City this season, while Bernardo Silva has excelled in a new role as a ‘false left-back’.
Manchester City’s successful implementation of the back three should suffice until they can address their longstanding left-back issue. If Pep Guardiola prefers to use a back four with a conventional left-back, there are multiple options available, such as Nathan Ake, Sergio Gomez, and Rico Lewis.
Guardiola has commended Ake for elevating the performance of his teammates and making them better players. Similarly, he recently praised Bernardo for his impact on the team, echoing his comments about Ake’s contribution to the squad.
Pep Guardiola believes that Bernardo Silva’s ability to dictate the team’s rhythm and enhance their performance makes him an exceptional player who is valuable in midfield. Although there’s no certainty that Bernardo or Ilkay Gundogan will stay with City next season, fielding Bernardo as left-back cover allows Guardiola to have all four of Bernardo, Rodri, Kevin De Bruyne, and Gundogan on the pitch, giving him the control he desires.
In the event that either Bernardo or Gundogan departs, there could be an opportunity for Joao Cancelo to reclaim his inverted role in the future. If Cancelo left City due to insufficient game time, a return to a more regular ‘false full-back’ system would be suitable for him if he returns in the summer.
Despite making four consecutive starts and providing back-to-back assists in his first start, Cancelo has encountered difficulties in Germany. Julian Nagelsmann has commended Cancelo’s attacking prowess but has benched him in matches where a more defensive player than Cancelo is needed when transitioning to a back three.
According to reports, Joao Cancelo was “withdrawn” in training after being left on the bench during Bayern’s win over Stuttgart this past weekend. German media suggests that he will remain out of the starting lineup for Bayern’s upcoming Champions League last-16 second leg against Paris Saint-Germain. Cancelo posted a cryptic message on Instagram in response to his exclusion from the team.
If Cancelo is already struggling to secure regular playing time, then perhaps his decision to leave the door open for a return to Manchester City was a wise one. Although the squad will have changed, he will be able to integrate quickly, given the presence of a system in which he could thrive.
When Cancelo and Guardiola previously mentioned the possibility of him staying at the Etihad for another season, it appeared to be a backup plan. However, Cancelo’s recent change in circumstances serves as a reminder of how quickly things can change in football. While City may have begun to consider life after Cancelo, they may now need to consider the possibility of finding a replacement in the summer. If Cancelo isn’t playing regularly at Bayern Munich, then Guardiola and Cancelo might have been wise to keep their options open.