Pep Guardiola knew that he had to strengthen his full-back options this summer if Manchester City were to seriously challenge for major honours and that has happened. The Citizens have signed their second full-back of the window in the form of Danilo. The Brazilian arrives for a fee of £26.5 million from Real Madrid. He is capable of playing on either flank and will provide fierce competition in the City squad. Although the 26-year-old failed to break into the team at the Bernabeu, he is highly-rated and Guardiola will be hoping that he emerges as a reliable player at the Etihad Stadium.
The signing of Kyle Walker means that Danilo is unlikely to start the season in the team, but he does have the quality to offer real competition for the spot. Meanwhile, he is more than competent at left-back, meaning that he adds balance to the squad. There has been a complete overhaul of City’s full-back options and it was important that the club sourced players to compete as well as starters on both sides. Danilo is a signing designed for that, but he will have hunger to break into the first-team and that is needed in a squad competing on multiple fronts.
He arrived at Real Madrid as one of the most exciting and dynamic full-backs in world football. There were a number of clubs interested in taking him from Porto and the comparisons to his compatriot Dani Alves weren’t outlandish by any stretch. As a typical attacking full-back, Danilo has great athleticism, with his pace being a weapon in his battles with opposition players. It was a surprise that he failed at the Bernabeu with Dani Carvajal and Nacho both being preferred to him. Neither have the natural ability that Danilo has, but the Brazilian’s confidence has been torn to shreds.
The period at Real Madrid has damaged his reputation in football, but the blame has to lie with the club as well. They failed to utilise him properly and their management of him was poor, with him not being given the sustained run of games that he needed to settle. Guardiola will know the qualities that the Brazilian can provide. At Porto, he was excellent in both halves of the pitch, with his awareness of his role showing how well he reads the game. Furthermore, he was used in more offensive roles at times and that will suit Guardiola. The City coach will want his full-backs to push forward and provide width, while they may be asked to sit inside as auxiliary midfielders. This was a strategy he used frequently at Bayern Munich and Danilo would be suited to it.
Kyle Walker has taken the headlines and he is expected to start the season as City’s right-back. It is understandable that Guardiola would prefer him initially, as he has been the best in the Premier League for the last two seasons. However, Danilo has the potential to move ahead of the England international if managed correctly. His confidence will be low after his spell with Real Madrid, but he remains a huge talent. If Guardiola can slowly rebuild Danilo and provides him with opportunities in the first-team, it could turn out to be one of the best transfers done this summer. The 26-year-old should thrive under the City boss and for a fee of £26.5 million, this was a deal worth doing for the club.