Joao Cancelo has been a mainstay for Manchester City over the last few years and has turned into a world-class inverted fullback. His role for City particularly offensively, saw him notch 7 assists last season as Pep and his men marched to the title last season. This season, however, the Portuguese international has failed to hit the heights of last season. In 17 appearances this season, he has only managed a solitary assist and has seemingly struggled for form.
Since the PL restart after the World Cup break, Cancelo has completed 90 minutes just once in the league. That full-game appearance came in the 2-1 defeat to city rivals United earlier in January. This has led to many news portals including Marca, speculating about a rift between the defender and his boss, Pep Guardiola.
Such reports will not be a surprise considering that the relationship between the two has had many ups and downs, which needed to be put to bed last year. It remains to be seen whether there is any truth to this speculation as Manchester City continue to chase league leader, Arsenal.
Manchester City #7 has featured predominantly as a left-back and excelled in the position. However, since his return from the World Cup- where he was benched in Portugal’s last two games- he has featured just once in the position with Guardiola favoring the likes of Rico Lewis and Nathan Ake.
Reports from various news portals indicate that AC Milan proposed a loan move for Cancelo through his agent, Jorge Mendes but the offer was rejected. It is also rumoured that Milan will try again in the summer if the situation does not change.
Further reports also indicate that City’s interest in Cancelo’s international teammate Rafael Leao could see the defender used as a deal sweetener. It is too early to determine if this move will happen and whether the defender will have his heart set on moving away from the Etihad in the summer.
In the interim, the 28-year-old will need to improve his form if he is to return to the starting XI in the coming weeks as the club seeks to wrestle first place from frontrunners, Arsenal.