Why Otamendi brings more than defensive strength to Manchester City

Manchester City Etihad 2

The Argentine defender boasts a fine record in front of goal and could prove crucial to Manchester City’s Champions League prospects.

Whether Manchester United were ever interested in Nicolas Otamendi is subject to debate but what cannot be denied is that the Red Devils have missed out on a defender who is more than your average shot-blocker.

In one full season with Valencia, the 27-year-old starred for Los Che, earning himself a place in the 2014/15 La Liga team of the season.

That followed a campaign in which the Mestalla club conceded just 32 goals in 38 games at a rate of less than a goal a game.

The third best record in the league behind only champions Barcelona and the previous year’s title winners Atletico Madrid, Valencia also shipped six goals fewer than Real Madrid.

His defensive prowess was on show again at the Copa America, where he was once again named in the Team of the Tournament after helping Argentina reach the final with four clean sheets from a possible six.

But there’s more to Otamendi’s game than defending

In 35 La Liga outings last term, the Argentine managed six goals for Valencia, with these efforts often coming in high-pressure matches and proving decisive.

Last term, for instance, he scored goals in home victories over Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid, helping Los Che claim fourth spot in the process.

That win over Real also saw Valencia end Los Blancos’ record 22-game winning run in all competitions.

And then there’s his relationship with Lionel Messi.

The Barcelona star’s international teammate with the Albiceleste, Otamendi could be the man to finally shore up Manchester City’s defence on the continent if his record against the Catalan favourite is anything to go by.

Otamendi went 94 minutes before conceding to Barcelona in La Liga compared to City who shipped a goal to the Catalans after just 16 minutes in the Champions League this term.

Messi, meanwhile, went 188 minutes against Valencia before scoring a goal against Los Che last term, which is impressive enough when you consider his top-flight record that campaign.

A powerful and commanding presence in the back line, Otamendi is also capable of playing at right back, as he did for Argentina at the World Cup and could prove to be the final piece in the City jigsaw this season.

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