The 20-year-old winger has been signed as a direct replacement for Leroy Sane.
Manchester City’s first signing of the summer transfer window could potentially go down as their most cunning one for years to come, as Ferran Torres is perfectly stitched to excel under Pep Guardiola. The Cityzens pulled a real bargain by signing him for only €23m, with the Spaniard being roped in as a potential successor to Leroy Sane.
Of course as the incoming transfer pyramid is designed at City, Torres will first have to undergo a challenging test before earning a rightful place in the starting lineup. In recent years the likes of Bernardo Silva, Riyadh Mahrez and Joao Cancelo have all being forced to prove their ability to thrive in Guardiola’s complex system before becoming a regular.
Pep’s system itself is a bit of a maze, but getting past it has its own rewards. Of course the 20-year-old will himself not expect to start every game in his debut campaign at the Etihad. As a matter of fact, he might not start even one-third of City’s Premier League games, given the other players stay fully fit. With Mahrez, Bernardo and Phil Foden challenging for his right-wing slot, it’ll take something special for him to fight his way into the team.
But his biggest weapon is the fact that Torres is a right-footed winger. He brings something completely different to the table as compared to what Mahrez, Silva or Foden’s tendency to cut inwards in order to excel using their stronger foot. Ferran is also extremely compatible to different situations, meaning he can easily sneak his way into key central areas and become a nasty threat inside the box to enhance his team’s attacking bite.
Up until Sane’s departure, the only genuine right-footed winger Pep had was Raheem Sterling – who opted to play more like an extra centre-forward than a traditional winger. Ferran can perhaps imitate the Englishman but is also pretty good for when City need a less complex, more instinctive form of attacking style.
The problem with the Cityzens, even though they scored the most number of goals in the Premier League last season, was that their attacking pattern became too predictable on some occasions. As a result, no matter how hard they tried, opponents found a system which invariably shut them off – leading to some bitter defeats.
Now with Ferran set to act like a breath of fresh air, Pep will get the chance to diversify his attacking style a bit. In fact, he might come up with a successful ‘Plan B’ as well. Torres couldn’t eclipse the City stars in goal contribution last season, which is understandable considering he was playing for an inconsistent Valencia side, but still held his own in a topsy-turvy season.
He scored six goals and provided seven assists for Los Ches in his breakthrough season, putting in some really exciting performances along the way. Apart from his great work in the league, it was in the Champions League where Ferran really shone through. In just six games, he managed two goals and as many assists, while averaging 1.7 key passes and 2 dribbles per game (stats via WhoScored) against formidable opposition.
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Knowing City’s tendency to break down under the European lights, signing a player who thrives under the pressure could be a game-changer. Torres is unfazed in the ‘big games’ and could become the X-factor for Guardiola’s side. Not only is the 20-year-old an electric winger capable of bursting past defenders, but he’s also extremely clever in the final third.
Indeed, Torres knows just when and where to place his crosses, be it floated inside the box or whipped to his teammates’ feet. When not acting as a traditional winger, the youngster has all the traits for excelling in a free role. Thanks to his clever presence of mind to move into spaces and impressive link-up play, he should spark up City’s attack, enabling them to continue their blistering style of attack.
Of course it will take time for him to blend into the system. Guardiola is a perfectionist who isn’t happy with anything but the best. So it could take half a season or an entire campaign for the 20-year-old to convince Pep of his worthiness to play week in, week out. But knowing how much of a determined individual Ferran is and his amazing potential, Torres could not only be a suitable replacement for Sane – but also fill the creative hole left by David Silva.