The 30-year-old Brazilian-born Portugal international has been one of the finest defenders on the continent since his move from Porto to the Spanish capital back in 2007.
His honours include two back-to-back Primeira Liga titles, two La Liga titles and several domestic cups both in Portugal and Spain. He’s made over 200 appearances for Los Blancos and worked with the likes of Jose Mourinho Manuel Pellegrini, and Juande Ramos.
Now, according to reports, Pellegrini wants to bring him to the Premier League to join him at the Etihad where Manchester City will hope to reclaim the title from archrivals Manchester United next term.
City already have arguably the best centre-back in the world at present in captain Vincent Kompany, along with some of the finest defensive talents in the sport – Pablo Zabaleta, Maicon Joleon Lescott, Gael Clichy, Aleksander Kolarov, Micah Richards and Matija Nastasic.
Pellegrini has brought in quality additions to his midfield in winger Jesus Navas and box-to-box central midfielder Fernandinho but it would appear the Chilean boss formerly of Malaga is now looking to bring in defensive reinforcement.
A player of Pepe’s quality would surely walk into the line-up to pair up with Kompany – the Portuguese international is valued around £20 million which, given the kind of sums City have paid for other players in recent weeks, months and years, would be money very wisely spent, in my estimation.
Whilst he is one of the best defenders in the world currently, he has been known to get himself into trouble at times – from his alleged stamp on Lionel Messi, his tendency to get himself sent off and his temper make him a little bit of a liable at times.
There is no doubting his immense quality in every aspect of defending – he is to Real Madrid what Kompany is to City, what Nemanja Vidic is to Manchester United and what Carles Puyol is to Barcelona. He’s a staple of the team.
But, for that kind of cash, wouldn’t Pellegrini prefer perhaps a younger, more laid back kind of character – someone like Mats Hummels of Borussia Dortmund, for example. The German international is another one of the continent’s’ finest stoppers, he’s 24 years of age and has never been sent off in his entire career to date.
Or, if Pellegrini is insistent on bringing someone from La Liga to join him, why not go for Pepe’s junior Real Madrid colleague Raphael Varane. At just 20 years of age, he is one of the most exciting prospects in the world for both club and his native France.
Whilst he would not bring with him the kind of experience and impact on the dressing room Pepe would, he’d be a more astute signing for the future of the club.
Pepe is a fantastic defender – a force of nature at times – but he is better suited to the Spanish game, in my humble opinion. He is much slighter and shorter than the average Premier League centre-back, he is flamboyant and unpredictable in his style and he picks up a lot of cards.
For £20 million, I think it would be better to bring in a player like Hummels or even someone like Bayern Munich’s Dante. If Manchester City bring in a centre-back of Pepe’s quality, it will surely help them tremendously in their quest to reclaim the title, but I can’t help but feel there are better options available to Manuel Pellegrini.
image: © jansolo09