Manchester City midfielder Fernandinho announced that he will leave the club in the summer after playing in England for nine seasons with the reigning Premier League champions.
City are not only losing a club legend when the Brazilian departs, but also a leader within their squad. Fernandinho has been club captain for two seasons after previous captain David Silva’s departure back to his Spanish homeland in 2020.
Along with the gap that will be left behind in midfield after City’s No.25 leaves, the armband will also be vacant with a new leader needed to be selected. One of cornerstones behind City’s recent success is having a strong captain at the helm, steering the team to silverware.
READMORE: Riyad Mahrez can set incredible Man City record this season
Vincent Kompany was captain at City from 2011/12 onwards and, during his stewardship, the club won four Premier League titles, four League Cups, two Community Shields and an FA Cup — the latter being in the Belgian’s final game for the club.
Fernandinho was a natural successor after David Silva’s stint, adding an extra Premier League title alongside a League Cup in a double last season. He could still potentially add another Premier League title and a first ever Champions League trophy this season under his leadership of him before he goes.
In short, the role of captain at City shouldn’t be taken lightly and demands an equipped leader who can guide the club through the ever-growing fixture list as well as maintain huge pressure from all around to perform at the highest level or face gruelling scrutiny. So who is able to take on this position?
Vice captains in City’s current squad include Kevin De Bruyne, Ilkay Gundogan and Ruben Dias, who have all had several cracks at leading the team out in Fernandinho’s absence.
Where many may point to midfielders De Bruyne and Gundogan due to their goalscoring contributions and their lengthy stays at the club, a player who seems the most suited to the role is defender Dias.
Dias only joined the club at the start of last season in a move from then Portuguese champions Benfica. The centre-back made an instant impact on the squad, raising morale and improving the performances of those around him, including defensive partner John Stones.
The pair claimed as many as 14 clean sheets in all competitions when playing the full 90 minutes together last season, conceding just 13 goals when in a defensive duo.
Dias has looked the real deal as captain when starting in the role when Fernandinho has been injured. He leads from the back and at times is eerily reminiscent of Kompany in City’s backline. For this reason, City cannot afford to look at the short time he’s been at the club as a reason not to give the Portuguese defend the armband.
Who will be City captain next year is still obviously very much up for debate but one thing that isn’t the matter of who picks the next leader. It is well known that manager Pep Guardiola himself does not make the selection, rather leaving it for his players to take a vote ahead of the new season.
This strategy has led to both Silva and Fernandinho’s captaincies and has seemingly proved fruitful given City’s on pitch performances. Only time will tell who will be selected as City’s new captain.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.