Manuel Pellegrini has an outstanding midfield duo at his disposal with Fernandinho and Yaya Toure, but there has been something missing from the City side ever since Nigel de Jong was sold to AC Milan - a true holding midfield player.
Gareth Barry, who is on loan from City to Everton, is excelling in that role under Roberto Martinez at Goodison Park, but is unlikely to return to the Etihad Stadium, whilst Spaniard Javi Garcia has yet to really impress when given the chance in midfield.
This has led to speculation that Pellegrini will make a concerted effort to bring in a natural defensive midfielder, with Cheick Tiote of Newcastle United and Southampton's Victor Wanyama linked with moves to the club over the last few days.
Both players have impressed this season for their respective clubs, but who should City move for if the stats are anything to go by?
|Name||Team||Pos||Total Tackle||Interception||Duel Won||Duel Lost||Apps||Mins|
Tiote was quite unheralded at Newcastle because he did all the dirty work in midfield, allowing Yohan Cabaye to attack, and his dominance as a defensive midfielder is perfectly illustrated here. Tiote has made 30 more tackles than Wanyama, 20 more interceptions, and has won 54% of his battles this season, edging out Wanyama who sits at 50%. Tiote is an all-action player who has a reputation for picking up yellow cards, but he's effective at his role in front of the back four, and the stats back that notion up.
|Name||Team||Pos||Dispossessed||Successful Final Third Passes||Accurate Pass||Total Scoring Att||Apps||Mins|
Going forward won't be in their remit too much, but it's still an important phase of the game. Tiote has been dispossessed 24 times this season which could be a concern, but from then on he once again dominates in every category. He has far more successful passes in the final third, almost twice as many accurate passes as Wanyama and twice as many shots on goal. Admittedly, neither of them have scored in the Premier League this season but as alluded to earlier, that isn't necessarily why they are so highly rated. The high passing stats for Tiote are something of a surprise, showing that he may be technically better than given credit for.
In conclusion, the stats clearly show that Tiote has had the better season so far and should be Pellegrini's primary option of the two when it comes to bringing in a defensive midfielder. Tiote's familiarity with Yaya Toure from their Ivory Coast displays could work in his favour, but it's important to note that Wanyama is still transitioning from the SPL to the Premier League, and is five years younger than the Newcastle man. It would then depend on what Pellegrini would prefer - instant impact or long-term development.
image: © Ailura