Manchester City are closing in on signing Kalvin Phillips with Pep Guardiola making the Leeds United midfielder a transfer priority this summer. But Phillips should be warned that he’s at risk of being moved out of position like Fabian Delph and Oleksandr Zinchenko if his new manager deems it necessary.
Delph joined Man City in 2015 with the intention of playing in midfield as he had done for Aston Villa, but Guardiola’s arrival in the summer of 2016 saw the 32-year-old eventually turned into a left-back.
In 2017/18, Fernandinho was preferred in midfield, so Delph could only provide cover. Benjamin Mendy was injured, however, so the England international occupied his spot. Delph was then only considered as a defender for City in the seasons that followed.
A similar thing happened to Zinchenko upon his arrival from Ufa in 2016. The 25-year-old joined with the reputation of being a versatile winger in Russia and central midfielder for Ukraine, but he stood little chance of getting game time over Guardiola’s favourites.
Kevin De Bruyne, Ilkay Gundogan, Bernardo Silva and David Silva were preferred in midfield while Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sane were preferred out wide.
City need a left-back to replace the suspended Mendy, so it wouldn’t be a shock if Phillips was tested in the position if one isn’t signed. He’s a good ball-winner but wouldn’t be the most composed player in the City squad, so Guardiola might not trust him in the middle of the park like Delph and Zinchenko found out.