Yan Couto: The Next Dani Alves
In an era when Pep has splashed huge money on Full Backs, a 6m Euro player in Yan Couto might well prove to be his greatest ever full back signing. This is a signing that has flown under the radar, but i am confident that his performances in the future will be mesmerizing. If Pep was given an option to create his own full back in a lab, the final product will be someone having similar qualities to Yan Couto. This lad is absolutely a dream for Pep. People are talking about the lack of Kyle Walker’s successor and the possibility of getting Reece James in the summer, but all that is non-sensical talk. Couto is all set to join with City next season and Pep is ultra confident in him.
Style of Play
Whenever Couto finds himself outwide, his first action is to find a pass infield rather than palying a vertical pass or a long ball. This is very important to sustain the attack and it also means that the ball reciever infield will have a positional superiority. This is exactly what Pep wants from his full backs and hence i feel that Yan Couto will take much less time to adjust within this Pep system.
Yan Couto also has excellent pace and he is quicker than most wingers and full backs in the league. Couto is known for his surging runs and they say that the most effective way to find Couto is to play a through ball. No prizes for guessing, but we have the best through ball players in De Bruyne and Foden. I am already excited to see both of them link up together.
Also, crossing is his strongest trait and he uses it very cleverly. Kyle Walker is not one of the best crossers and i feel that we have become a bit predictable in terms of most of our attacks going through Cancelo. The addition of Couto will definitely make the pitch even bigger and be a great defensive headache for all the teams.
Also, if we get Haaland, then we have someone who is one of the best aerial threat in the world. The crossing success rate of Yan Couto is 40%, which is rather high . To put into perspective, the crossing success rate of Trent Alexander Arnold is at around 25.5%. Not just crossing, but Couto is very good on the ball and loves cutting inside to receive the ball. He exploits space like he owns it, he is an absolute attacking machine with an understanding of the game beyond his years.
Couto is an excellent ball progressor in the transition phases. He is very strong and his remarkable pace and ability on the ball helps him to carry the ball forward with ease. Off the ball as well, Couto makes great progressive runs and creates spaces for his team mates to exploit. The other fascinating aspect is that half of his progressive runs occur at half spaces and Pep loves this. Most of Pep’s style of Play is based on exploiting those half spaces and we have someone in Yan Couto doing exactly that. Just imagine what this player will become after working for 1-2 seasons under Pep.
One on One Defending
People say that Couto is not physical enough to survive in the Premier League. Some of City’s fans say that we should instead be looking at Pedro Porro and other full backs who are ready in terms of muscularity and body strength. I strongly disagree with all of them. In a Pep Guardiola team you need mental strength and not physical strength. This applies to all the positions. Couto has exceptional Co-ordination, balance and agility. He also has a strong mentality that allows him to stay calm in one on one situations. He is also tactically very aware and plays the offside trap exceptionally well.
The best thing about Couto is that his body positions while defending are exceptional. He might not have the strength of a Kyle Walker, but by using his intelligence he limits the options for the opponent and forces him on to his weaker side. This is all you need to do in a Pep Guardiola team. We defend as a unit and attack as a unit. So, help will always be round the corner. It’s just that you need to have that awarness to force the opponents into a corner and slow the attack down until help arrives.
Yan Couto is excellent at one on one defending, has great crossing ability and has an excellent tactical mindset. Looking at all of these qualities, there is no surprise that Pep has personally made sure he signed on that dotted line. He is Pep’s perfect right back