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Man City: Fernandez can be Gundogan’s heir

Pep Guardiola has reportedly asked Manchester City to sign Enzo Fernandez and the Argentine could be an ideal alternative to Jude Bellingham as the Citizens search for an Ilkay Gundogan heir.

According to recent reports from Spain, Fernandez is top of Guardiola’s list as the Spanish manager looks to add another central midfielder at the Etihad, with Bellingham perhaps preferring a move to either Real Madrid or Liverpool.

The initial report claims that City have liked the World Cup winner since his time with River Plate but if they are to prise him away from Benfica this year, they may well be forced to pay his release clause, which currently stands at €120m (£105m).

The 22-year-old has certainly caught the eye with his performances in Roger Schmidt’s side so far this campaign, contributing one goal and five assists in 16 league appearances, averaging a superb 7.24 rating from WhoScored.

Considering only Erling Haaland, Kevin De Bruyne and Rodri have averaged a better rating in Manchester City’s squad so far this season, it is clear what he could add at the Etihad.

It was no surprise that he was called up to Argentina’s squad for the World Cup, with Argentine journalist Roy Nemer full of praise for his influence at Benfica.

He said: “The stock of Enzo Fernández has risen a lot recently.

“Extremely in form and in a tournament like the World Cup, that is vital. He can absolutely be a game changer.”

This certainly proved to be the case, as he was one of the star performers alongside Lionel Messi for Argentina as Lionel Scaloni’s side won the tournament.

Fernandez would register one goal and one assist in seven appearances, averaging a strong 7.06 rating from WhoScored for his performances at the tournament, which has seen him become one of the most talked about youngsters in world football.

City will soon be in need of another central midfielder, as Gundogan looks likely to depart the Etihad when his contract expires at the end of the current campaign.

The German has averaged very similar numbers to Fernandez with regard to interceptions (0.8 vs 0.9), shots (both 1.8) and key passes (1.6 vs 1.8) per game so far this season, so the Argentine looks to be a natural successor in Guardiola’s midfield.

Therefore, if he is indeed top of Guardiola’s list, Txiki Begiristain should perhaps forget about Bellingham and instead focus on bringing Fernandez to the Etihad this year.

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