Fernandinho’s glaring absence reveals flaw in Manchester City masterplan | Jamie Jackson

Untold money has been spent at the Etihad yet the squad remains reliant on an ageing midfielder with no deputy

Pep Guardiola’s failure to find a credible back-up for Fernandinho despite a £542.9m spend on players since taking over as Manchester City manager in 2016 is receiving heightened scrutiny. City have lost three times in four league games and significantly Fernandinho’s thigh problem forced him to miss the losses to Crystal Palace and Leicester. The player Guardiola believes could operate in any outfield position is in contention for Sunday’s trip to Southampton but he may not start.

City’s slump has allowed Liverpool to take advantage at the top of the Premier League and without Fernandinho the fear is Guardiola’s side may slip further behind. City are already 11 points worse off than at the season’s midpoint a year ago.

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