We have been waxing lyrical about this kid for way over a year. As a consequence we have so far had to deal with a certain amount of egg on the face as Manchester City’s big summer signing, Eliaquim Mangala, has had an absolute shocker of a start to his career at the club.
Many players let nerves get the better of them and others simply have bad luck as they embark on careers at new clubs. But Mangala’s start has been a comedy of errors.
What worries us is that his performance and sending off against Southampton perhaps spoke of more deep rooted problems than simply bad luck.
Of course Mangala is an absolute monster of a man. Physically he’s as powerful as the almost peerless Vincent Kompany. But you want much more than brute force for £32m and, on Sunday, Mangala’s showing suggested that he really needs to improve his technique to become a Manchester City stalwart.
He can look very clumsy and his reading of the game can improve. While both qualities can be taught, to a degree, you would hope that a player of this value would have really good football instincts to begin with.
Of course he is still only 23 and a completely new league can make a mockery of even the best players. But perhaps Mangala needs to be pulled back from the firing line again to let him observe the English game a little more. The red card should see to that.
The sending off on Sunday wasn’t a deal breaker but Manchester City can ill afford to drop points right now and, at times, Mangala looks something of a liability.
Manchester City fans: teething issues or bigger problems?