After finishing a distant second in the Premier League to Liverpool, Manchester City have already started plotting their way back to the top of English football.
The Cityzens are set to complete the signing of Valencia’s young winger Ferran Torres, who will bolster their attack and wing options tremendously for the upcoming season.
But how does he fit into Pep Guardiola’s tactical system, though?
Hailing from a Valencian province, Torres has played for the club since he was six. Progressing through the youth ranks, he made his senior debut in 2017, becoming the first player born in the 2000s to appear in a La Liga game.
The now 20-year-old has quickly become a key player for Los Ches and will depart having played over a century of games for the club, contributing six goals and seven assists in all competitions during the recently concluded 2019/20 campaign.
He’s also won both the Under-17 and Under-19 European Championships for Spain, and is on the verge of being picked for the senior team due to his great form.
A fantastic dribbler of the ball, Torres is an old-school winger who loves to get past his opponent on the byline. He loves to get onto the ball and take the game on, and is ranked in the top 15 La Liga players for total dribbles made during this season.
He’ll also drift centrally to become a greater attacking threat, and is unafraid of testing the goalkeeper whenever he’s close to goal. Only three of his teammates have had more shots for Valencia during this campaign than he has, while three of his four league goals have come from the penalty area.
He’s not one who will waste possession either, having completed 78.7% of his passes in all competitions. On the defensive end, he’s within the top 20 of wingers in successful tackles, showcasing he’s willing to work hard behind the ball.
Overall, he’s a highly talented young player who can become a more consistent and well-rounded attacking player under Guardiola’s guidance.
Torres has most often been deployed as the right winger in Valencia’s 4-4-2 formation under former coach Albert Celades. It gives him the freedom to get around his marker at full speed, before picking out his strikers through his superb crossing ability.
But during Los Ches’ matches, he would sometimes swap positions with whoever was on the other flank, and looked to cut inside while positioned on the left.
The right, though, appears to be the role he likely plays in City’s preferred 4-3-3 style, using his trickery and speed to create goalscoring chances for Sergio Agüero and Gabriel Jesus.
It’s hard to envision Torres as an automatic starter from the very start of the 2020/21 season.
Given Raheem Sterling’s excellent form throughout last season, he’ll have to contend for the right-wing role against the likes of Riyad Mahrez and Bernardo Silva, though the latter could find himself playing centrally more often next term.
With Pep preferring to have two wingers who can cut inside and create space for his attacking full-backs, Torres will likely have to bide his time.
The 20-year-old will be a great fit for the English top flight, with his pace and athleticism well-suited for the league’s demands.
His technical abilities should see him cope very well under pressure, and his intelligence in finding positions between the lines in attack will cause problems for defenders trying to nullify his influence.
With any new signing, he’ll need to adjust to the unique demands of the English football calendar – but given the Sky Blues’ extensive squad depth, burnout won’t be an issue.