Manchester City have been warned they cannot buy a defence as their problems at the back continue this season.
City were plagued by defensive issues last year, with an injury to Aymeric Laporte seeing Fernandinho play at centre back for much of the campaign.
They sought to rectify that this summer with big money moves for Nathan Aké and Ruben Dias, but so far their defensive issues have remained, with them conceding eight in five league games, although five did come in a defeat to Leicester City.
Nonetheless, it’s clear a problem remains and former midfielder Benoît Thans, who will be watching tonight’s Champions League clash with Marseille as a commentator, was quick to criticise.
“This is clearly where the problem lies. Money does not make a good defence!” he told Le Soir.
“Having the most expensive rearguard doesn’t bring any guarantees on the field. Dias, Mendy, Walker, Laporte, Cancelo: they all cost at least 50 million euros.
“Bad luck for them, their greatest hope in defence, Eric Garcia, is in his last year of contract and Barça is trying – rightly – to bring him back to Spain.
“The bad start in the Premier League is largely due to defensive problems. Eight goals conceded after five games, including five at home against Leicester, is way too much!”
While the defence is a negative, there is one major positive for Manchester City and that I the return of Kevin de Bruyne.
The Belgian midfielder has missed his club’s last two games, against Arsenal and Porto, with a muscle injury but is expected to return for tonight’s game after featuring in the weekend draw with West Ham.
His return will be a major boost for Manchester City given he is undoubtedly their star player, something Thans also acknowledged.
“Great news for Manchester City who is suffering from “De Bruyne addiction!” he added.
“He holds the keys to the Manchester game. In addition, he improves and reassures his teammates.
“He is a quarter of a second ahead of everyone, and that makes all the difference. When he is good, he is unstoppable. When he is average, he still manages to be decisive.”