Another Argentinian master class in defensive diligence suggests that Manchester City don’t need to swan around flexing their substantial financial muscle this summer.
The Premier League champions have been linked with mega-bucks moves for Porto’s Eliaquim Mangala and Moroccan Mehdi Benatia of Roma in recent weeks, but the World Cup performances of much-maligned Martin Demichelis render these moves unnecessary.
After having a hefty fine and Champions League squad restrictions imposed upon them for falling foul of the Financial Fair Play regulations, the Citizens must tow the line henceforth.
So dipping into their bottomless pockets to solve a non-existent problem must have their bank manager tugging at his collar at the prospect of another UEFA slap on the wrist.
Demichelis was regularly chastised for perceived heavy-footed, immobile displays at the heart of the Man City defence, but all he needed was adequate protection, which the Albiceleste’s super-cautious midfield provides in abundance.
Argentina are yet to concede a single World Cup goal with the former Malaga man marshalling their defence.
During their semi-final shootout success over the Netherlands, Demichelis made a game-high eight interceptions and none of his fellow countrymen could best the number of shots he blocked either.
The Dutch will have no doubt targeted his distinct lack of pace as the weak point in their rearguard, with the lightning-fast feet of Arjen Robben regarded as the perfect weapon to exploit this.
Demichelis was unperturbed by the flying Bayern Munchen man though, with Argentina dropping deep and stationing a pair of holding midfielders ahead of the defence to strangle the space afforded to the opposition.
The Citizens have one exemplary backline screen in Fernandinho and, after procuring a like-minded partner in Porto’s Fernando, they have the tools to replicate Argentina’s defensive blueprint next term.
It wouldn’t necessarily have an impact on attacking prowess either, with Yaya Toure shuffled forward into an advanced berth behind a solo striker and conjuring pair David Silva and Samir Nasri retaining their spots on the flanks.