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'He was absolutely perfect' - Akanji earns rave reviews from Guardiola who praises £15m ‘gift’ for Man City

7:28 PM SGT 10/10/22
Manuel Akanji Manchester City 2022-23
Pep Guardiola has lavished praise on Manchester City's summer signing Manuel Akanji, stating that the defender has been a "gift" for the club.
  • Defender joined from Dortmund
  • Can fill a number of positions
  • Only needs to be told plans once

WHAT HAPPENED? The 27-year-old completed a move from Borussia Dortmund to the reigning Premier League champions on transfer deadline day, with a cut-price deal pushed through. Akanji has proved to be quite the bargain for City, as his versatility has been put to good use at centre-half and right-back.

WHAT THEY SAID: Guardiola has told City’s official website: “With [assistant manager] Carlos Vicens on set pieces, he said: ‘you only have to tell [Akanji] once [and] he knows it’. The movement defensively and offensively, he executes it perfectly. This is a gift for the manager. Some players, you have to explain ten times or train ten times to show what you are thinking or what you want to do. This guy needed just one training session and he got it.

“The movement he has to do as a full-back, the high pressing, he didn’t train once, and he did it perfectly. With the ball he is a magnificent player. Our build-up should be three in the back and that’s why in the position we normally play Kyle [Walker] or John [Stones]. He was absolutely perfect. Proof again that intelligent people, always it pays off.”

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Akanji’s latest eye-catching performance for City came in their comfortable 4-0 victory over Southampton, with that result preserving the Blues’ unbeaten record in the Premier League this season. They currently sit just one point adrift of table-topping Arsenal in second.

IN THREE PHOTOS:

DID YOU KNOW? City have become the first team to score at least four goals in five consecutive top-flight home games since Tottenham Hotspur in September 1963 (a run of six).

WHAT NEXT FOR AKANJI? City will be back in Champions League action against FC Copenhagen on Tuesday, before taking in a trip to Liverpool on Sunday.