Manchester City, better to let Savio go, avoid risks

Manchester City, better to let Savio go, avoid risks

For Manchester City Kids Kit Football Shirt: Sack Savio. He is developing elsewhere. Keeping him at Girona next season is sensible; dropping him on Guardiola’s bench would be unwise.

“Wanted!” announcements about Sávio Moreira de Oliveira, aka Sávio, began to appear just over a month ago when sources told ESPN’s Rob Dawson that City Football Group, which owns his registration and authorised his loan to Girona from French Ligue 2 team Troyes last summer, is calling for the kid to move to the North West of England and live in rainy Manchester for the 2024-25 season.

The petite, clever 19-year-old, raised by his mum and grandparents on their São Mateus farm on Brazil’s southeast Atlantic coast, has 10 goals and eight assists this season. He is one of the main reasons why Girona, who have never played European football, are on course for the Champions League next season.

It has been nine years since he milked cows and watched in awe at the spectacular rodeo on the family farm, loving the freedom of living off the land while the adults in his family earned a living, but now his talent is flourishing.

“I’m aware of what my style of play does for people”. – Sávio explained. “I love it when I perform some technical trick and the fans roar because of it. I watched a recent performance at home on video and noticed how our fans stood up from their seats. They were shouting “Ohhh!” and jumping up – I want to do it again.”

During Girona’s most brutal and bumpy period of the season, which included defeats to Athletic Club and Mallorca, and a real dismantling of the Cheap Women’s Real Madrid Football Shirt At the Bernabeu, Sávio scored three goals in the only two victories – at home against Rayo Vallecano and at the weekend in a 2: 0 defeat against Osasuna.

Watch him sprint to Aleix García’s pass, leave his partner behind and then use his extended left foot to slot the ball into Osasuna’s goal. A drop of magic.

Throughout the season there has been more than ample evidence that this left-footed winger has “the right qualities” – balance, technical ability, anticipation, athleticism and the ability to learn. Sávio admits: “It’s been months of testing because I prefer to play on the right wing and come in with my left foot.” Such development in a completely new environment, against the biggest rivals in his short career, despite being asked to abandon his preferred position, is impressive.

Girona is admittedly not the template of the ‘Dirty Dozen’, a tight-knit group of misfits, bad eggs and thugs who somehow function brilliantly together – but it’s not far off.

Given that Sávio is a young, raw talent full of promise, he stands out against teammates such as Yangel Herrera, Aleix García, Paulo Gazzaniga, Eric García, Borja García, Pablo Torre and Miguel Gutiérrez. These teammates have been at Manchester City, Barcelona, Tottenham Hotspur or Real Madrid respectively and, for one reason or another, have not reached the right level. And yet here they are, led by manager Míchel, who lives and breathes Guardiola’s coaching concepts, but whose only previous experience in LaLiga as a coach ended in his dismissal after seven months by Rayo and five by Huesca, on the doorstep of next season’s Champions League game. Deservedly so. And that is precisely the problem.

Míchel, who is no optimistic fool, believes that another nine or ten points will ensure that this small Catalan club, which has never competed with the English, Germans, Italians, French or Dutch, will be able to face PSG, Inter Milan, Bayern Munich, Arsenal next season, Women’s Liverpool Football Shirt and their ilk – and make many tens of millions of euros in the process. This would mean that Sávio, if he stays where he is or is loaned back, provided he remains fit, would play at least eight Champions League matches under the new UEFA system, which debuts in September.

Instead of groups, the Champions League will become a 36-team league in 2024-25 and although Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti ended his press conference with a ‘mea culpa’ last week after that awful 1-1 draw with Leipzig, saying of the new system that “I am against any change to the calendar or competition that means more and more matches”, no one in authority is listening. The revised format means that as long as Girona don’t produce the most cataclysmic drop in performance levels between now and the end of May, then history will be made and Sávio can be given a giant opportunity to mature, learn and improve.

Will the same thing happen at City? Well, thinking specifically about his learning under Guardiola, in what is likely to be the Catalan’s last season in Manchester, the answer is yes. Training under his tutelage, training with some of the best players in Europe every few days, taking his advice, criticism and demands will push any footballer – let alone a young, still imperfect Brazilian winger. But nothing improves and toughens a player like consistent competition at the highest level.

At City, Sávio would have to deal with those who periodically or regularly play out wide in Guardiola’s team: Jack Grealish, Jérémy Doku, Bernardo Silva, Phil Foden, Oscar Bobb, Julián Álvarez, as well as the occasional winger.

If fit, he would start Girona’s matches every week and would play the majority of all eight Champions League games between September 2024 and January 2025. In addition, he would remain a trusted pillar of Girona’s LaLiga, Spanish Super Cup and Copa del Rey campaigns. This could be the biggest, most challenging and most exciting season of this lad’s career. So let’s build a case for him to stay.

Míchel is not close to Guardiola in terms of experience, trophies won or genius – but they are from the same school of thought. And character. Sávio told Brazilian TV Globo: “I think almost everything we have achieved this season is due to the coach – he is demanding. He gets angry when we don’t make even one pass or do something stupid. When I’m in the team, he often curses at me if I don’t do well enough, and for half the game I’m on the same sideline as him. Sometimes it annoys me – I’m really angry.

“When he gave me a rest in the Copa del Rey, it was really funny for me to sit on the bench and hear him swear at someone else. But the thing is, he leaves us with absolutely no comfort zone – we all know he’s making us better.”

Earlier this season, Míchel burst into the changing room at halftime and shouted at Sávio, who had scored a goal and recorded an assist in the first 45 minutes: “Dammit, you have the talent and quality to score 10 goals and record 20 assists this season!”. Sávio countered and reduced the ‘agreed’ total to eight goals and five assists – he had already beaten that.

Sávio opted for City Football Group’s offer when he left Brazil, turning down the chance to sign for Arsenal because his ultimate goal was to work under Guardiola. However, he understands that “it’s a process and I will just have to work for it”. However, at the start of the season, when asked if simply “staying up” would be Girona’s goal, the lad, new to the country and fresh from playing for PSV’s youth team, said: “I expect us to finish in the top eight.” A bold statement.

Nevertheless, in any complete analysis, its flaws must also be highlighted. In each of the defeats against Madrid, 3:0 in Catalonia and then 4:0 at the Bernabeu, Sávio simply failed to impress. Ancelotti’s attempt to be jerked, pressed and passed around by the champions-elect has given us the most flaccid version of the Girona winger who will be with Brazil when they play against England and Spain later this month.

The youngster, who once admired rodeo riders at his family’s ranch, understands the path to becoming a true cowboy: falling, rising and persevering. At Girona, he will have more opportunities next season than at Manchester City. Spanish football enthusiasts will also enjoy his journey.


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