Marc Cucurella: 4 reasons why Manchester City should meet Brighton's £50m asking price | OneFootball
Marc Cucurella: 4 reasons why Manchester City should meet Brighton's £50m asking price
Manchester City have made Brighton & Hove Albion defender Marc Cucurella one of their primary summer transfer targets as Pep Guardiola looks to strengthen the left side of his title winning back line.
Cucurella has made quite the impression since arriving at the Amex Stadium last August in a £15m deal from Getafe. He started every Premier League game following his signing and ended the season being voted both Seagulls' Supporters' Player of and Players' Player of the Year. It was an outstanding debut campaign in which he helped Brighton to ninth spot in the Premier League table, their highest ever finish in English football.
City's interest therefore comes as no surprise. Neither does the price tag slapped on Cucurella by Albion chairman Tony Bloom, which stands at £50m - a figure that will not be lowered and could see the champions walk away from negotiations.
Having made his billions through professional poker and gambling, Bloom is not a chairman who blinks very often in such negotiations. Brighton hold all the power, with Cucurella still having four more years to run on his Albion contract. They are under no pressure to sell.
In the event that Cucurella tries to force through a move, he is unlikely to succeed. Lewis Dunk, Dale Stephens, Elliott Bennett, Liam Bridcutt and Yves Bissouma are just some of the players who have angled for transfers away from Brighton since Bloom became chairman in 2009, none of whom succeeded in their first attempts. Bloom sells only when it is in the best interests of his football club to do so.
Which makes it look like City and Brighton are currently heading towards a Mexican standoff over Cucurella. Brighton want at least the same fee they extracted from Arsenal for Ben White, a player Albion were easily able to replace and who was nowhere near as important to Graham Potter's side as Cucurella.
City meanwhile do not seemingly believe Cucurella to be worth paying £50m for. In that regard, they are wrong - here's four reasons why they should pay up if they want to take him to the Etihad.
1. Cucurella's offering in defence and attack
Marc Cucurella scored his first Brighton goal in the 4-0 win over Manchester United / GLYN KIRK/GettyImages
Firstly, there are the numbers. Cucurella sat third for most chances created from open play for a full back in the Premier League in 2021/22, behind only Liverpool duo Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson. Given how much Jurgen Klopp likes to rely on his full backs, that is decent company for Cucurella to be in.At the other end of the pitch, Cucurella made the third highest number of tackles of any full back after Crystal Palace's Tyrick Mitchell and Stuart Dallas of Leeds United. Whereas many full backs tend to be stronger in attack over defence or vice versa, Cucurella is as dangerous and exciting going forward as he is solid and reliable at the back. He is a swashbuckling all-rounder with the stamina, skillset and ability to make a difference anywhere on the pitch.
2. Cucurella's positional versatility
Graham Potter has introduced versatility to Marc Cucurella's game by deploying him as a centre back / Bryn Lennon/GettyImages
In his first five months as a Brighton player, Cucurella was used almost exclusively as a left wing back in a 3-5-2 formation. That was until February, when the sale of Dan Burn to Newcastle United combined with injuries and suspensions to Dunk and Adam Webster left the Seagulls a little thin in the centre back department.Potter came up with the idea of using Cucurella as the left sided centre back in his three-man defence. Cucurella had never previously fulfilled such a role in his life. It takes a special kind of player to learn a completely new position on the job in the high-pressure environment of the Premier League. There were a few hairy moments along the way, but by the end of the season he looked completely at home playing alongside Dunk and Joel Veltman in Brighton's back three.Having more defensive responsibility placed on him has done little to curb Cucurella's attacking intent. Ball playing centre backs who can step into midfield are very much in fashion - especially if your name happens to be Pep Guardiola - and Cucurella takes that onto a whole new level.He showed that when popping up in the final third from centre back to assist Bissouma for Brighton's third in their April win at Wolves, followed a week later by Cucurella scoring his first Premier League goal in the 4-0 rout of Manchester United.With his new-found ability to play as a centre back, Cucurella is now in effect three players in one - a wing back, an orthodox full back and a central defender. City could spend £30m on a new centre back and £30m on a new left back, or £50m on Cucurella and get both positions covered for the price of one. Versatility is a much-desired trait and Cucurella has it in abundance.
3. Cucurella is only 23
Cucurella will continue to get better with time / Steve Bardens/GettyImages
Aged just 23, Cucurella is still several years from his peak. He has undoubtedly improved in one season at Brighton despite arriving in Sussex as a young man not speaking any English and having never lived outside of Spain.If Cucurella continues improving at his current rate, then he has the potential to become one of the best full backs in the world. That would only be accelerated working every day alongside a manager like Guardiola, who has such a proven track record for getting the best out of young players under his tutelage.The £50m price tag which Brighton have slapped on Cucurella's head might seem big now to those who have not watched Cucurella week in, week out in the 2021/22 seasons. In four years time, however, there is every chance the football world will look back at it and view it as a bargain.
Marc Cucurella's hair has become iconic at Brighton / George Wood/GettyImages
And if none of that convinces City to pay what Brighton want for Cucurella, then how about doing it for his hair? It has taken on iconic status among regulars at the Amex and has got to be one of the best barnets in the Premier League.
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