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"More than exceptional" - Pep Guardiola hails Manuel Akanji's Manchester City impact

Adam Booker

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"More than exceptional" - Pep Guardiola hails Manuel Akanji's Manchester City impact

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has hailed new signing Manuel Akanji, with the centre-back having taken quickly to life at the club. 

The 27-year-old was reported to be keen on a move away from Borussia Dortmund where he had practised his trade since signing for the Bundesliga club in 2018. 

And with injuries to multiple defenders, City pounced on the opportunity to bring Akanji to the Etihad for a measly fee of £15 million. 

The Swiss international was lauded for his ball-laying skills from defence at the Signal Iduna Park, a key ingredient for Pep Guardiola’s City defenders.  

Manuel Akanji
Manuel Akanji

Since signing for the Premier League champions in the final 24 hours of the summer transfer window, Akanji was thrown right into the team, and has made three starts for Pep Guardiola - including two in the UEFA Champions League.

In those appearances, Akanji has fit into his new team seamlessly, and has received plenty of praise from the Manchester City faithful as a result.

Most recently, Akanji, made his Premier League debut, playing 90 minutes for the Blues in a comfortable 3-0 win away from home against Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Goals from Jack Grealish, Erling Haaland, and Phil Foden saw the Blues cruise to their third win in their last five games in all competitions. 

And speaking after the match, City boss Guardiola praised his new defender’s fast start to life in sky blue. 

"[He has been] more than exceptional,” Guardiola told BBC’s Simon Stone after the victory at Molineux.

He continued: “So aggressive, but then had the tempo to control the situation. From day one, we thought, ‘We got it’…” 

Akanji has potentially given Guardiola a selection headache as the season continues, and with Aymeric Laporte set to return to fitness after the international break, the Etihad outfit could have five senior centre-backs competing for minutes. 

However, after a defensive injury crisis in the backend of the 2021/22 campaign forced Guardiola to play multiple players out of position in crucial games, the Catalan boss will be delighted with his options. 

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Coming up after the international break, City will face their first real tests of the season as they stare down the barrel of consecutive matches against Manchester United and Liverpool respectively. 

The Sky Blues are scheduled to play eight fixtures next month, though have already seen their trip to the Emirates to face league leaders Arsenal postponed.

As well as huge Premier League clashes, Guardiola's side will look to secure qualification to the knockout stages of the Champions League, with back-to-back fixtures against FC Copenhagen prior to a trip to Dortmund.

With the jam-packed fixture list on the horizon, Guardiola will hope for a clean bill of health for his players as they report to play for their national teams in the coming weeks.

Topics: Manchester City, Pep Guardiola, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Premier League

Adam Booker
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