Brazil ultimatum will test two of Man City’s summer transfer decisions earlier than expected
Manchester City will be hoping that the Premier League can assist them when it comes to getting their Brazilian players to feature against Leicester on Saturday.
City, along with most of their Premier League rivals, blocked any player who would be travelling to a ‘red list’ country from leaving for international duty, due to the requirement to quarantine for 10 days on their arrivals.
As a result, Ederson and Gabriel Jesus stayed in Manchester rather than fly to Brazil, theoretically keeping them available for the fixtures with Leicester, RB Leipzig and Southampton.
However, Brazil have apparently made a move under FIFA regulations to block those players they couldn’t pick from playing in the Premier League for five days, which would rule Ederson and Jesus out of the Leicester trip. The Premier League are working to ensure that clubs won’t be sanctioned for playing those players.
City have two big reasons to hope that Ederson and Jesus will be available.
Not least, because of Zack Steffen’s positive Covid test on international duty, potentially ruling him out of the Leicester trip as well. That would leave Scott Carson as the only goalkeeping option.
If Jesus was absent, City’s decision to go without a striker signing would be tested properly for the first time. Jesus has seemingly moved out to the wing, with Ferran Torres moving centrally, but he has experience through the middle and can play there during a game or off the bench.
Without Jesus, there would be no recognised striker at all. City opted not to purchase a new striker after Harry Kane and Cristiano Ronaldo deals fell through. While they have plenty of attacking options, this would be an early test against a good team to see how well the Blues can cope with no natural striker.
Leicester’s attacking threats will also test Carson, who signed on a permanent one year deal after two years on loan. As the designated third-choice keeper and much-needed homegrown squad player, Carson’s signing makes sense. His influence off the pitch has been highlighted in recent months, and it would take some exceptional circumstances (like these) for him to play.
However, his popular debut at Newcastle last year came after the Premier League title had been won and with attentions fully turned to the Champions League. Carson did okay, and even saved a penalty, but still conceded three times against a Newcastle side who took advantage of his inclusion.
Leicester will be very different. They will also sense an advantage if Carson plays and be better equipped to capitalise. City will likely have to abandon some of their passing build-up, and Leicester are more direct on the break than Newcastle were. The Foxes are better defenders than the Magpies, too.
As much as playing Carson was a popular move on and off the pitch, he will need to put in a much better performance on Saturday in a game that could see City slip six points behind the current leaders if they lose. They could have signed a third-choice goalkeeper more in tune with Guardiola’s style, but opted to keep Carson.
The logics of that will be tested at the King Power on Saturday – as will the decision not to sign a striker – if the Premier League can’t make things work with the Brazilian players.