Ferran Torres

Utility players are those that have the ability to thrive playing in different positions, not just as a makeshift, but delivering in their emergency position like their natural position.

However, it could be extremely difficult for managers to convince a player that he would have a fantastic career playing in another position entirely, especially when his natural position has earned him appraisals and recognition in the football world.

Most football enthusiasts across the world were shocked after Pep Guardiola hinted that Manchester City may not necessarily replace the club legend, Sergio Agüero who has scored 182 Premier League goals for the Cityzens; And is their all-time top scorer with 258 goals in 389 appearances.

Nevertheless, City have played numerous times this season without a true ‘number nine, in their setup, the preponderance of insinuations that backed Pep’s announcement was that the Spaniard is respecting the Argentine forward as he’s leaving behind at Etihad an unassailable goalscoring legacy. 

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Well, that’s a big point if only those insinuations are true.

But Guardiola, being a manager who has managed the very best attackers in the world right from his days at Barcelona, would definitely recognize an attacker who possesses a ‘striker’s sense of smell’ when he sees them.

Perhaps, it is this striker’s sense of danger the 50-year-old manager has seen in his summer signing, Ferran Torres.

Before the 21 year old arrived from Valencia, his goalscoring record was unspectacular and also worrying.

The winger had managed to score just nine goals in three seasons as a professional footballer, with six of those coming last season in a Valencia shirt.

Being a wide player, his arrival at Etihad Stadium was initially as a replacement for Leroy Sané; but Guardiola had other ideas. The Catalan is the best in the world at setting up a ‘False Nine’ system in the modern day, and saw in Torres the suitable attacking ingredients. Hence, started playing him down the middle in the UEFA Champions League group stage when the club’s orthodox strikers were injured and out of form.

Torres’ scoring record has been large and impressive ever since, at least for a player of his age range, playing in a more competitive environment and particularly when he’s had just 22 appearances for City in the Premier League. 

City ran out 4-3 winners in a thrilling match at Newcastle as the newly-crowned Premier League Champions reached a record 12 consecutive away wins on Friday night.

Torres scored a hattrick as he showed a striker’s instinct with all his goals, producing a sublime flick for his first, finishing first-time from Gabriel Jesus’ cross for his second and then being in the right place to finish after Joâo Cancelo’s shot had hit the post to complete his treble.

After grabbing his first Premier League hat-trick, the Spanish forward now has seven goals in the Premier League and 19 in total for club and country this season – the best return of his fledgling career.

Also, he possesses the best shooting accuracy of any City player (60%) and the best strike conversion rate this season.

Ferran Torres

These clinical numbers are music to Guardiola ears and he waxed lyrical about the young lad after the topsy-turvy game against The Magpies at St James’ Park.

“He has incredible numbers in his first season in the Premier League,” said Guardiola after the win over Newcastle.

“He’s so clinical. I’m going to have to think about him as a striker.” Guadiola said.

The manner of Torres’ goals also pleased Guardiola as each were instinctive, poacher efforts.

“The smell, the strikers know, intuitively where it will arrive. He has this talent and the first goal is fantastic. Very pleased.”

While Pep’s remarks about Torres after the match last night could be spot on, it also means that there’s going to be feisty competition for who would be his first choice between the Spain international, Gabriel Jesus, or other options who proved key to this campaign’s title win like Phil Foden, Kevin De Bruyne and İlkay Gündoğan.

One thing’s for sure, City are well stocked with existing options for the central striking position. They just might not need to buy to replace Agüero.

Babajide Adewunmi-EverBlazin
May 15, 2021
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