It’s time to talk about Claudio Bravo, and who Pep should turn to now
There are roughly seven billion people on this planet, but only one seems to think Claudio Bravo should still be Manchester City’s goalkeeper. Unfortunately for the Citizens, that man is Pep Guardiola.
The Chilean put in another suspect display at the weekend, as City went crashing down 4-0 at Everton, handing Guardiola his worst ever league defeat in management.
City now sit outside the top four, and 10 points behind leaders Chelsea.
And while the Spanish coach is insistent that persevering with Bravo and distribution is the way forward, the statistics tell a different story.
Of the last 23 shots the 33-year-old has faced, Bravo has conceded 14 of them.
And during the course of this Premier League campaign, the former Barcelona stopper has let in over 42 per cent of the shots he has faced.
That’s on a par with Lukasz Fabianksi at Premier League dwellers Swansea.
Compare that with the teams Man City are vying for a Champions League spot with, and it doesn’t look good. Hugo Lloris is being beaten to just 26 per cent of shots faced at Tottenham, with Petr Cech and Thibaut Courtois at just over 28 per cent for Arsenal and Chelsea respectively.
Ultimately, for all Guardiola’s denial, Bravo is costing them points, and it’s rapidly looking like coach and goalkeeper are leading City into the Europa League.
So with the rest of the world in unison – and Jamie Carragher passionately agreed on Sky Sports at the weekend – that City can never be champions in England or Europe with their current goalie. Who do they turn to?
Manuel Neuer is widely regarded as the kingpin of the modern goalie, and if City did somehow land the Bayern Munich stopper then glory surely awaits. But it seems unlikely.
Far more likely, and still a vast improvement, are Jan Oblak at Atletico Madrid or Bernd Leno at Bayer Leverkusen.
The pair are each the right side of 25 – time for Pep to mould his ethos into them – and could be tempted with a big-money move to England. Certainly more so than Neuer.
Clearly when Pep brought Bravo in to replace Joe Hart, he was prepared to go one step back to eventually go two steps forward.
But the time has come to realise the move hasn’t worked out, and now the under-fire City boss must wake up and plot an alternative route to glory.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing