Pep Guardiola Knows Exactly What He's Getting With New Boy Jeremy Doku

The winger has signed for Manchester City from Ligue 1 club Rennes
07:00, 24 Aug 2023

Manchester City have agreed a deal to sign Jeremy Doku from Ligue 1 club for a reported £55.5 million. This marks the third first-team signing of a surprisingly profligate summer for the treble winners. But manager Pep Guardiola is notorious for only signing players he is absolutely sure of. Chelsea midfielder Mateo Kovacic and Josko Gvardiol, the RB Leipzig defender, will have been signed with clear tactical uses in mind. Doku will have been no different, as Guardiola concocts the potion that will keep his Citizens at the top of the European footballing tree.

So what is Guardiola getting in Doku? Last season the 21-year-old offered up six goals and two assists in 29 Ligue 1 games, helping his team to fourth in the table. The man he is essentially replacing, new Al-Ahli man Riyad Mahrez, notched five goals and 10 assists in a game more. But he did so in a team that won the Premier League before adding the FA Cup and Champions League to their mantle.


While assists-wise, Doku represents a drop-off, he has been playing in a team without an attack as well-oiled as City’s. After all, any team boasting Erling Haaland is going to be a boon to the numbers of its creative passers. But there are areas for refinement in Doku’s game. He is impressive but raw. However, that sort of mouldable talent is exactly what Guardiola is often eager to sign.

Look at the example of Jack Grealish. The England man got pelters in his first City season after signing from Aston Villa. Naysayers claimed he had found the step-up too hard and belonged at a club further down the food chain. Last season, the 27-year-old was one of Guardiola’s most trusted stars as the club made history. 

Other City signings have walked a similar path. Rodri, John Stones and Joao Cancelo are further examples of Pep’s ability to mould players in his image. Doku may lack the lethal edge and creative spark of a typical Guardiola winger. But what he does bring are several facets and skills that will ease his transition into one.

Doku is a lethal, agile dribbler. His pace and close control have been a nightmare for defences in France and Europe during his brief career. With Mahrez now 32, fresh, pacey blood in wide areas was a must for Guardiola. While some questioned allowing the former Leicester City winger to leave, the City manager knew the time was right. Doku’s physicality and athleticism, combined with better, more clinical teammates, should make those merely adequate numbers skyrocket.


If it doesn’t happen this season, we will be led on the same merry dance as always. Despite his age and the adjustment to a new league, Doku will be written off. His contributions compared to the man he has replaced. But Guardiola and City will almost certainly have the last laugh. Their method of player development may not always yield instant results, but given the quality the new buys are surrounded with, that is more than made up for while they get up to speed.

City certainly haven’t thrown the cash around this summer, despite being a club utterly flush with it. The Saudi Pro League and Chelsea have grabbed most of the transfer headlines this window. But Doku, like Gvardiol and Kovacic before him, is a measured buy that fits what Guardiola wants to do. With City enjoying not only the most successful spell in their own history, but one of the most dominant periods in English football full stop, they can afford to back their manager in these matters. No matter how Doku’s Etihad tenure starts, fans would do well to share their manager’s faith. No doubt it’ll all work out in the end.

Suggested Searches:
The Sportsman
Manchester United
Manchester City
Premier League
Sportsman HQ
72-76 Cross St
Manchester M2 4JG
We will not ask you to provide any personal information when using The Sportsman website. You may see advertisement banners on the site, and if you choose to visit those websites, you will accept the terms and conditions and privacy policy applicable to those websites. The link below directs you to our Group Privacy Policy, and our Data Protection Officer can be contacted by email at: [email protected]

All original material is Copyright © 2019 by The Sportsman Communications Ltd.
Other material is copyright their respective owners.