Ferran Torres Man City's Next Generation Man
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Ferran Torres Man City's Next Generation Man

In a post-Sergio Aguero era at the Etihad, Manchester City wanted England striker Harry Kane to fill their vacancy for a talisman up top. But after baulking at Tottenham’s asking price after several bids, Pep Guardiola has turned to his existing squad in search of solutions. Step forward, Ferran Torres. The 21-year-old is beginning his second season in English football, arriving last summer from Valencia for a fee of £20.8million. Starting each of the Citizens’ three Premier League matches so far this campaign, he looks to be Guardiola’s chosen man to play in that shadow striker role. So, can the young Spaniard spearhead City’s attack in the long-term, or will he just be a temporary fix?


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Stepping up

The adjustment from playing on the continent to English football can often be a tough one – many have tried and many have failed.

For every Aguero, Diego Costa and David Silva, there is a Roberto Soldado, Iago Aspas and Lucas Perez. 

However, Torres appears to have made the transition look fairly smooth.

During his three seasons in LaLiga, he managed to score six times, but immediately surpassed that tally in his first Premier League campaign with seven.

His 0.48 goals per 90 minutes placed him inside the division’s top 25 players for 2020-21, ahead of seasoned forwards such as Sadio Mane (0.35), Pierre-Emerick Aubamayeng (0.39) and, notably, teammates Gabriel Jesus (0.39) and Raheem Sterling (0.35).

No wonder Guardiola is purring about his fellow countryman’s prospects.

Back in May, he said: “It’s his first season in England and his numbers are exceptional.

“He came as a winger, he has to think about it to play as a striker.

“There were periods of time where I didn’t give (him) minutes, but he’s played and has a sense for goal and it is so important, so I’m very pleased.”

Torres’ role

Torres was deployed on the right hand side of Guardiola’s favoured 4-3-3 for much of last season.

His keenness to drift inside is what first opened the City boss’ eyes to the possibility of him making that shadow striker spot his own.

Displaying real awareness to drop deep and pick up loose balls has been a real asset, while his willingness to adapt to whatever system he is played in will surely stand him in good stead for the future.

City have the option to play an incredibly fluid attacking line, with the likes of Sterling, Riyadh Mahrez and Jack Grealish – as well as Torres – all able to create space and overload the opposition’s defence.

In 2021-22, he has started every top flight match, and has repaid his manager’s faith with two goals and one assist so far.

Consistently aware of the situation around him, Torres often likes to come looking for possession – drawing defenders towards the ball and creating space in behind, for either himself or his teammates to exploit.

The 20-cap Spain international has had freedom to waltz around the final third, but he is not afraid to get stuck in when called upon. 

Torres also shows a real enthusiasm for counter-pressing – it's a high-risk strategy, but more often than not, it is highly rewarding. 

Defending from the front, City’s No.21 has already won possession in the attacking third of the pitch three times this season, which is the 12th-best record in the division to date.

With his best years still ahead of him, and one of the world’s greatest coaches to learn off, there’s no reason why Torres can’t develop into one of the Premier League’s most potent attackers.

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V: 1.22.1 All rights reserved. August 2021
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