Ilkay Gundogan (went to Barcelona), Riyad Mahrez (to Al Ahli) and Aymeric Laporte (to Al Nasr) already left Manchester City this summer. The most probable thing is that Joao Cancelo (to the Barcelona) is the next one. At the same time, the English club spent about 180 million euros: after Mateo Kovacic (29 million euros) and Joshko Guardiol (90 million euros), Jeremy Doku joined the team. According to Fabrizio Romano, the transfer of the Rennes footballer cost City about 60 million euros. Let’s find out which footballer has just officially passed to the English championship.
Did City overpay for Doka twice?
The first thing that attracts attention is money. Transfermarkt values Doku at 28 million euros, although City pay double for a newcomer. Here it should be noted that while Transfermarkt’s estimates are largely accurate, they are highly dependent on a few factors. The same player in the championship of France and England will be evaluated in different amounts.
From Rennes’ point of view, the agreement seems logical. The French bought Doka from Anderlecht for 26 million euros (a record sale for the Belgian club to this day). In three seasons in Ligue 1, Jeremy’s status has risen to one of the stars of the tournament. After such progress, it would be strange if Rennes sold it for roughly the same money.
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Also, not many footballers have a similar profile. Doc just turned 21 three months ago and already has more than 100 appearances in the European league. He made his senior debut at the age of 16 and since then has played 34 games in the Belgian championship and 75 in the French championship.
Doku has experience playing for the Belgian national team (16 games, 2 goals). In the 2022 World Cup in Qatar he played little (18 minutes), but this team is experiencing a generational change. And precisely the 21-year-old winger is called the face of the new team.
What is Doku’s strength?
There is an obvious answer: dribbling. Regarding the number of attempts to reach the hit, last season it ranked 14th, if the top 7 leagues in Europe are taken into account. Not a bad indicator, but the number of successful hits is much more impressive. And here Doku was already in the top 3 last season. He only lost to Lionel Messi and Vinicius Junior.
Successful hits in the 2022/2023 season in the top 7 leagues: 112 – Vinicius Junior (Real Madrid); 102 – Lionel Messi (PSG); 96 – Jeremy Docu (Rennes); 91 – Mohammed Kudus (Ajax); 90 – Lee Kang Ying (Mallorca).
Even Kylian Mbappé admired Doku’s skills. In 2021 he gave an interview to France Football: “I recently spoke with my father about a soccer player who impressed me with his speed: he was Doku. In five years in professional soccer, he hadn’t seen anyone with such potent initial speed.
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Couple this with an average of 6.8 dribbles per 90 minutes (by far the best of the top 5 leagues) and you have an idea of what kind of player this is. In motion, he is similar to Adam Traore, but in terms of dimensions he is the complete opposite. Doku’s height is only 173 centimeters, and the low center of gravity helps control the ball at high speed.
The words of Thierry Henry are also eloquent: “When you are alone with him, you can only pray.” Formally, Doku is right-handed, but he is also good as a left-hander. He confidently punches in both directions; he doesn’t care which foot he gets the ball under. Sometimes the flexible Belgian is even called a biped.
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How will Doku fit in at City?
Under Guardiola, players often become generalists and play in unusual positions, but here the situation seems unequivocal. This summer the right winger Mahrez left and in his place Doku was chosen, whose basic position is the right winger (although sometimes he came out on the left flank of the attack).
In France, Doku quickly earned an image, and sometimes two rivals would defend him at once. More precisely, one covered it, and the second remained in the safety net. This created more free zones for Doku partners. If the same thing happens in the Premier League, then City will be better than others at taking advantage of the space available in the opposition’s defence.
Photo: Sylvain Lefevre/Getty Images
Another important detail is the pressure. It is essential for Guardiola’s teams that stifle rivals with possession. There seems to be no cause for concern. Doku likes to cover the opponent and his speed helps him with this. His last goal was scored (by the way, with his left foot) after putting pressure on the Metz defender. Here you can see the video.
Why is the Doc still having doubts?
Since we are talking about Manchester City, the Belgian’s passing game may be cause for concern. He is good in this component, but in Manchester he will have to get involved in a game where control of the ball is at an outrageous level. Jack Grealish carried the ball brilliantly at Aston Villa and fouled a lot, but after his transfer to City it took him a year to adjust. Although Doku is still young and probably prepared to absorb the demands of the trainer more quickly.
Here I would like to give an example of how Guardiola integrated Neymar into Barça, but they did not work together (they missed each other for a year). Doku in his previous team was also quite free, in Rennes he was allowed a lot. Including receiving the rabona ball. A match like this is not expected for the public at City.
Photo: Frame of the transmission.
Ninad Barbadikar, an analyst at Sporting Life, informed Doc of another shortcoming. In her extreme analysis, she points out: “The physical form is the only doubt. Doku shows brilliance, but not as often as I’d like. More than 20 games at the start, the last ones he played were in the 2020/2021 season. He will take time to get used to the relentless pace of the Premier League.”
In general, City play differently. For example, in the last game (against Newcastle), while he was in possession, the right winger (Phil Foden) moved into midfield and Kyle Walker plowed all the way down the right-hand side. This build is less comfortable for Doku, who is used to flanking in a wide position. In any case, what exactly Guardiola gets from this transfer is variability.
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