21 Defender Manchester City Serbia
2014 has been...
“…Manuel…Manuel! It’s Marvin…your cousin Marvin Pellegrini, remember that imposing centre-back you were looking for? Well listen to this.”
*holds phone out*
You do wonder just what Matija Nastasic has done to find himself so far out on the fringes apart from getting injured. From Manchester City’s Young Player of the Season in 2013 to not even being mentioned in dispatches despite recent injuries and suspensions briefly decimating the heart of the club’s defence, it’s a strange one. The injuries have been frequent but when fit he appears to now be behind Kompany, Mangala, Demichelis and even Dedryck Boyata as things stand, with rumours that although hamstrung by financial regulations City are looking for another defender to come in, possibly as soon as January if a work around can be found for the FFP stipulations. His latest injury appears to have occurred in training and is described by most as simply “a thigh muscle problem” but there is very little information on the specifics. Two years ago it looked like he would be first choice partner for Vincent Kompany and well along the path to becoming club captain one day. Now his injuries are barely meriting a line or two in the papers or online.
It can’t be down to doubts about his talent as those who saw his initial Manchester City form are well aware just how good he is. Really good in the air, positioning that defies his age/experience and also very comfortable on the ball, there was a reason Stefan Savic’s City career was considered expendable when the chance to sign Nastasic from Fiorentina came up. The injuries have been frequent but he has been pushed so far from the first team that each delay seems to make it look even more unlikely he will feature for City under Pellegrini longer term. A lot of their fans would love to see him back and in the first team, particularly with Mangala’s erratic approach to Premier League defending since signing, will it happen? It looks like he has to prove that he can sustain an injury free month or two in the reserves before we get to find out.
There is lots of talk of an imminent loan move, possibly back to Italy with Inter (out the frying pan…), and we hope he takes it. It’s very obvious that his manager is losing faith, maybe not in the talent but possibly the fitness, and he’s at a club where a new player makes not a single dent to the balance sheet. Manchester City have to spend wisely as things stand but spend they will, this all adds up to a difficult future ahead if he wants to make it at the Etihad Stadium.
A string of injuries and persistent problems would frustrate any young footballer and, in truth, any football club. At one point he looked on the cusp of becoming a huge player for City and that was because he’s a brilliant young defender, we just hope he still is once he’s back to full fitness and on form. This has been a terrible year and not necessarily for things he could control, but he needs to think about his future. He’ll definitely become a wonderful central defender somewhere and this year will hopefully be the only black mark in his copybook.
“One of the best young defenders in Europe, will have a really good and successful career at a big club, will that be City? Not sure anymore” – Dave Hartrick
"Matija Nastasić has been on the winning side in 22 of his 34 league appearances for Manchester City." - OptaJoe
E It may seem harsh in light of the injuries, but the mark’s more of a measure of just how far he has found himself from the first team when fit. Needs a manager who believes or a fresh start, here’s hoping he gets one or the other
Peaceful Hooligan? Give Scotts a go