Manchester City have a bunch of young starlets on loan across Europe, and it is an exciting time for the club as they can easily solve a lot of positions in the coming years with the help of these players. One such player is 18-year-old Yan Couto, who is currently playing for Spanish side Girona FC in the Segunda Division of Spain.
A right-back by trade, the Brazilian hopes to play under Pep Guardiola someday, so much so, that he rejected offers from Bayern Munich and FC Barcelona in 2019.
The right-back impressed in the U-17 world cup as Brazil lifted the trophy in 2019 and Yan Couto played a major role in the tournament for his national side.
It is very obvious that Manchester City currently have no current needs for a right-back on their side, with Joao Cancelo and Kyle Walker, both playing in that role in City’s tightly wrapped fixture schedules over the past 2 seasons. However, with Pep Guardiola signing a contract extension with the club, Yan Couto might just have a chance to play under the Spaniard before he leaves Manchester City. Moreover, Kyle Walker will turn 31 this year and might not have as many years at the top and Manchester will be on the look-out for a young back-up right-back soon.
Couto gave an interview to Goal recently and the Brazilian talked about his ambitions and the chances he received post the U-17 World Cup in 2019 – “After the U-17 World Cup that we won with Brazil, some clubs were interested in me: Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Manchester City,” Couto told Goal. “To me, Pep Guardiola is the best manager in the world, and Manchester City is one of the best clubs in the world at the moment, with a bright future. Therefore, to me, it was the best choice.”
“I’m a modern right-back,” Couto said. “As a Brazilian player, I’m skilled technically, quick and consistent defensively. I help the team a lot in defense. My strongest point is the offensive side. I’m an attacking full-back who helps the team to create chances. Brazil has always produced great full-backs that are heroes to me: Cafu, Roberto Carlos, Dani Alves, etc. But the full-back that I look up to because we have a similar style of play is Cicinho. I like him a lot and how attacking he was, his dribbling was amazing. I have a similar style of play to him and he is my idol.”
Your idols are normally who you try to emulate, and in Cicinho, Yan Couto has picked an interesting one, as he favors the attacking side of the game but also understands the importance of being defensively resolute when his team does not have the ball.
Couto is a dangerous player going ahead, as witnessed by his winning goal against Las Palmas in the weekend before the international break started. The right-back is fast, technically able and overlaps almost constantly past the winger and while this is not how Guardiola wants his full-backs to operate, it is the potential of Couto that needs to be looked at.
There could be many changes in the Manchester City squad over the next couple of years and Yan Couto will certainly be considered as an option to be brought back if he continues with his impressive performances.