Manchester City’s long-serving full-back Pablo Zabaleta has recently admitted he is considering his future after a frustrating season at the Etihad. There is an air of uncertainty for a number of City players with Pep Guardiola’s arrival set to bring about big changes at the club and the Argentine defender could be one of those to depart.
Zabaleta has been restricted to just 12 Premier League appearances this season for Manchester City due to a combination of the good form of Bacary Sagna and injury problems.
It has certainly been his least successful season in a Man City shirt but he has by no means disgraced himself when he’s featured and is still held in high regard by City fans.
At 31 it is not like he is damaged goods and Zabaleta is actually 2 years younger than Sagna, the man who has been keeping him out of the team. Were the Frenchman 23 and not 33, you might have said that Zabaleta would be wise to move on but there is no reason to suggest that the Argentine can’t win back his place next term.
Dependent on Guardiola
However that hugely depends on the plans that Guardiola has at Manchester City. With an ageing squad, it seems likely that the Spaniard will try and bring some fresh young blood in right across the side and although right-back hasn’t been a particular problem position for City this season, Pep might still opt to bring in a younger more dynamic player as he looks to build for the future.
Zabaleta’s recent comments and general attitude throughout his career suggest he is not merely someone who would be content to sit on the sidelines and pick up his wage packet even though he still has one year to run on a lucrative contract so he most likely would seek a move should that happen.
Man City would certainly be losing a good player and might be wise to try and convince the Argentine to stay as he still has plenty to offer at the top level but in reality there wouldn’t be room for both Sagna and Zabaleta should another right-back arrive.
The smarter long-term option
As harsh as it would be given how well he has played this year, letting Sagna go and trying to keep Zabaleta, who has been a rare beacon of consistency during the Sheikh Mansour era might be the smarter long-term option.
There is a danger of changing too much too soon when a team has a bad season and a new manager arrives and although a clear-out is expected, City would be wise to hold onto the experience of a few of their senior players like Zabaleta who have helped guide the club to numerous trophies in the most successful period of their history.
Written by Mark Sochon
Follow Mark on Twitter @tikitakagol
Check out his brilliant blog on all things La Liga, Tiki-Taka-Gol!
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