Manchester City are reportedly preparing a bid of £40 million for Borussia Dortmund star Julian Weigl.
According to reports in the Daily Mail, Pep Guardiola is a huge admirer of the Germany international.
With Yaya Toure and Fernandinho coming to the end of their respective playing careers, City are in need of a holding midfielder.
So just who is this 22-year-old?
talkSPORT has assembled a scout report for the youngster to determine just how good the midfielder is.
The midfielder was rated so highly at first club 1860 Munich he was incredibly named captain at just 18-years-old, the youngest in the club’s history. He featured prominently for the club in the 2014/15 season, and made the move to Borussia Dortmund in August 2015.
Thomas Tuchel was the manager at the time, and managed to get the youngster for just over £2 million. His first season was largely a success as he featured regularly in midfield for Dortmund, despite being just 20-years-old when the season ended.
Although he is contracted to the German club until 2021, rumours of a move to City have still persisted. So just what would the club be getting?
Stats this season – courtesy of Squawka
It’s easy to see why Guardiola wants to bring the German midfielder to the Etihad. Out of the 15 games he has played in the Bundesliga this season, Weigl has completed 639 out of the 735 passes he has attempted, leaving him with a success rate of 87%. He is not renowned for his offensive play, although he has scored once this season and created four chances.
It is his role in front of the back four that Weigl has excelled and really made a name for himself across Europe. He has won 26 tackles this season, and made 25 interceptions. Perhaps more crucially for someone playing so deep, he made zero defensive errors.
Rather than playing like an old-school defensive midfielder, Weigl is part of a new breed of midfield. He is less rampaging and has more intelligent positioning, not too dissimilar to Sergio Busquets at Barcelona. Like the Spanish midfielder, Weigl is tall and slim – standing at 6’2. Weigl instead uses intelligent positioning to influence the game from midfield as he is not blessed with pace.
At times, the German will sit even deeper than Dortmund’s centre-halves and dictate play from there. He is incredibly composed on the ball, and a high press does not appear to fluster him. He allows players ahead of him to be more creative by finding the right pass or escaping tackles with his quick feet.
Perhaps the most crucial feature of his game is his movement once he has released the ball. In order to prevent counter-attacks, he occupies vacant spaces near the ball. This way, he ensures he does not get found out for lack of pace if a team wants to release a quick counter. For a team like City, this is a trait that could prove crucial considering the amount of possession they have.
Positioning – His tracking back and covering for team-mates (particularly full-backs) make him almost invaluable for Dortmund. He is always available to receive a pass and always looks for the simple option.
Defensive Instincts – During Saturday’s trip to Borussia Monchengladbach, the midfielder made six tackles and four interceptions – the most out of any player for the visitors. His aerial prowess needs work, but this is something that can be worked on.
Physicality – As mentioned earlier in this report, Weigl is similar in stature to Sergio Busquets, which is ideal for his style of play. Should he wish to move to the Premier League however, he will need to add weight to his frame. At just 72 kg, he gets pushed off the ball far too easily at times.
Although a huge transfer fee is probably required to get Dortmund to part with one of their star assets, it would be an investment worth making for City. With Fernandinho coming to the end of his playing career, a 22-year-old replacement looks like good business.
Weigl would fit seamlessly into the spine of the team, assuming a position at the base of the midfield for City. His transition from 2.Bundelsiga to the Champions League with consummate ease and a switch to the Premier League shouldn’t prevent too many difficulties.