This piece originally appeared on our sister site, manchestercityanalysis.com
Since joining City at 28-years-old in 2013, Fernandinho has somewhat aged like fine wine. Playing 169 league games in that time he proved to be a crucial part of the Premier League title winning sides of 2014 and 2018.
However, being closer to the end of his City career than the start of it, the player who is being dubbed as his long-term replacement is Julian Weigl following the rumours that it would be Ruben Neves.
Also a holding midfielder, the 23-year-old is recognised as one of the most exciting prospects in that position but how does he compare to Fernandinho?
Player Comparison: Off The Ball
With both players being holding midfielders, its important to assess how well they do their primary jobs first.
Looking at their statistics when off the ball, Weigl definitely looks like he could fill the shoes of Fernandinho when the time comes.
Acting as a screen for the defence, the most important statistics on show are the interceptions and tackles won.
Regaining possession quickly is a key to the way Guardiola wants to play and with Weigl averaging more interceptions and tackles per 90 minutes this should help him fit into the team quickly should an approach be made.
Fernandinho’s efforts shouldn’t go under the radar, however. Despite being 33 sees to have endless energy and that is shown in the amount of times he is able to regain possession for City and get them back on the offensive.
Despite losing out by about 3% in terms of aerial duels won, Weigl’s 6ft 2in frame should help him impose himself in midfield.
However, as we know, it won’t just be off the ball where Weigl will have to impose himself. Here’s how he compares to Fernandinho with the ball at his feet:
Player Comparison: On The Ball
With a few seasons under Guardiola under his belt, its not a surprise that Fernandinho appears the better of the two on the ball.
Wanting everybody, from the goalkeeper to the strikers to contribute to his attacking play, that is made clear by the difference in the amount of forward and key passes made by Fernandinho and Weigl. We can see this style of play being mirrored across the league with Liverpool and Arsenal adopting similar methods of build up play.
If Weigl is to be Fernaninho’s successor, the statistics suggest it may take a while for him to adapt to Guardiola’s demands on the ball.
However, with a pass completion of 86%, the ideas brought to him by Guardiola shouldn’t be too foreign to what he already knows and does for Dortmund.
A young player with a fair amount experience, looking into his statistics, Weigl looks like he could be a great replacement for Fernandinho. Offering similar and possibly cover to his attacking teammates this could make Manchester City an even bigger force in the Premier League.
Furthermore, with Fernandinho currently the only real player Manchester City have in that mould, a player like that will need to be brought in in the near future, so why not Weigl?