Football Features

Bruno Guimaraes to Man City? Why Guardiola should act fast to sign Haaland’s £80m admirer

By Will Evans

Published: 10:42, 29 May 2024 | Updated: 13:30, 12 June 2024

Manchester City will need to move quickly if they want to sign Bruno Guimaraes.

The Newcastle United midfielder is attracting attention from a host of top clubs, with the Citizens reportedly keen on bringing him to the Etihad Stadium. The Brazilian star is believed to have a £100m release clause in his contract that can be activated from now until the final week of June.

As the race for Guimaraes’ signature hots up, we consider what he would add to Pep Guardiola’s squad.

Fitting the profile

Manchester City are in need of a deeper-lying midfielder who can progress play, having never truly replaced Ilkay Gundogan following his departure last summer — the German himself, of course, having converted to a more attacking option by the end of his spell at the Etihad.

West Ham United’s Lucas Paqueta looked to be in the frame for a possible move to M11, but last week’s FA charge for alleged betting breaches is likely to have scuppered that deal. Guimaraes has a similar skill set to the Irons’ maestro, however.

He is defensively resolute when his side are without the ball, before becoming a creative presence when in possession — and providing plenty of end product in attacking areas.

That is reflected in his 15 Premier League goals contributions during 2023/24, having amassed seven goals and eight assists over 3,268 minutes of action.

Ball-winning brilliance

Guimaraes’ defensive attributes are reflected in his statistics from last season.

Just 10 top-flight players made more tackles than the 26-year-old, while he is particularly adept at regaining the ball high up the pitch.

A total of 31 regains in the attacking third was the 11th-most in the division, with 121 middle-third regains only beaten by Ryan Christie (122), Christian Norgaard (122) and possible future team-mate Rodri (132).

And with more duels won than anyone else in the Premier League (286), Guimaraes would certainly bring an additional level of steel to Manchester City’s midfield. Something Guardiola himself has noted in the past.

“He is an exceptional holding midfielder. He is aggressive, with the ball or without the ball,” the Spaniard said of Guimaraes ahead of Man City’s FA Cup quarter-final clash with Newcastle in March. “At set-pieces, he’s aggressive and is a real, complete holding midfielder since being at Lyon and now at a club who want to grow up and up. I am sure he is part of the project for the next years. Definitely.”

On his interactions with Guardiola, Guimaraes said in March: “Pep said I was ‘bueno’, good! We have a good relationship, we have already talked a few times. For me, Pep’s a genius, the best coach in history.”

Pass master

Guimaraes’ driving runs have consistently helped Newcastle turn defence into attack during his time on Tyneside.

Surprisingly for a player in his position, only wide forwards Jeremy Doku (87) and Mohammed Kudus (124) have completed more take-ons than the Rio de Janeiro native’s 72.

However, it is Guimaraes’ passing skills that make him such a creative threat.

He is always looking to play the ball into dangerous areas — attempting (2,264) and completing (1,924) a notably high number of passes into the final third. It is a similar story when it comes to through-balls attempted (26) and completed (12), too, with both those figures putting him inside the Premier League’s top five players.

That could make him the dream addition for relentless Man City striker Erling Haaland — a player Guimaraes is a massive public admirer of.

“He’s a monster, he’s an amazing player,” Guimaraes told the Premier League’s YouTube channel of Haaland recently. “If I played with him, I’d finish 20 assists a season.”

The Magpies will be desperate to keep hold of their midfield lynchpin, but Manchester City should go all out to sign Guimaraes — even if it means meeting his £100million release clause.