Manchester United midfielder Oleksandr Zinchenko continues to be linked with a move to La Liga, with Real Betis the most likely destination, but he’d been turning down personal turns with clubs in order to fight for his place at the Etihad Stadium.
Given he’s struggled for playing time under Pep Guardiola, few could argue there’s a place for him in the first-team, and the message may be finally sinking in. Latest reports state Zinchenko has made a U-turn on his decision to stay and would be open for an exit. Whether that’s permanent or not remains to be seen, but it may be best for all parties that the midfielder is moved on.
Couldn’t take his chance when given small opportunity
Signed from Ufa in 2016, the 21-year-old has gone on to make just 14 appearances in all competitions, having spent his debut season out on loan at Dutch Eredivisie outfit PSV Eindhoven (17 appearances). Zinchenko, while a central midfielder, has only featured at left-back under Guardiola.
With Mendy having suffered a serious knee injury, the Ukrainian international provided cover along with Fabian Delph and Danilo. Now Mendy is fit and starting on a regular basis, there doesn’t appear to be room for Zinchenko given the competition for places.
He isn’t going to feature at left-back as three players are ahead of him in the pecking order. Operating in central midfield looks unlikely too, with Ilkay Gundogan, David Silva, Fernandinho, Delph and Kevin de Bruyne in his way. As a result, Zinchenko has no place in the first-team and will surely have to leave to get regular football.
Loan move could suit both parties
With Zinchenko having turned down a permanent move away from City earlier this summer, a loan deal might be best for both parties. After helping the Sky Blues win the Premier League title last season, the Ukrainian international doesn’t want to leave the party just yet as he’s being mentored by Guardiola.
A loan move, however, would allow him the chance to get first-team football and still return to City next summer. And should he impress with another side, the 21-year-old could get himself back in favour with his manager. So far, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Real Betis have been closely linked to his signature, but both sides appear to want Zinchenko permanently.
Should the Citizens offload Zinchenko? Or should they find a resolution that allows him to stay contracted to City while getting first-team football elsewhere for a season?