Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has hinted that although Vincent Kompany remains a top defender, his injury woes remain a huge problem.
The Belgian international made his first Premier League start since November in the 2-1 defeat to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night, forming the defensive partnership with John Stones that Guardiola would ideally have liked to have seen all season.
While it naturally took some time for the 30-year-old to get up to speed with the game, he looked the part as it went on and he provided a reminder of just how important he can still be for City.
However, with the Manchester Evening News reporting that Guardiola wants to bring in at least three new defenders this summer, has Kompany left it too late to cement his place in the starting line-up, and perhaps even the squad?
“When Vincent is fit, he is a top central defender,” said the City manager. “We cannot forget that – but he was not fit for two and half years.
“Of course (he would have made a difference to our season) – he’d compete with Nico, Kola and the other ones. We cannot forget how he suffered in that period in those years and he played really good (against Chelsea).”
Given that display against Chelsea, Kompany will now be desperate to avoid suffering any further setbacks between now and the end of the season, thus giving him a significant run in the side to prove that he can still be the defensive lynchpin at the club.
However, the transfer speculation coupled with the uncertainty over when his next spell on the sidelines is coming could prove to be damaging for him.
With Guardiola even hinting that he would have still rotated the Belgian with the likes of Nicolas Otamendi and Aleksandar Kolarov, many will interpret these comments as a major blow to Kompany’s hopes of playing a prominent role at the Etihad moving forward.