Written by @CityzenAmerica.
As the Jeremy Doku mania has taken over the Manchester City fanbase (including me), I couldn’t help but look back and think about City’s decision to sell Cole Palmer and sign Doku from Rennes. I know the first reaction is to say that the two transactions were unrelated, but I believe they are. Palmer wanted more playing time at City, and it wasn’t going to look good if they brought in a player of the same age at the same position.
At the time, it ruffled some feathers in the City community. Palmer is exactly 3 weeks older than Doku, has played within the Guardiola system for years, and is a bright young English talent. Doku played for a fourth-place club in the inferior French league. Why spend money on a relatively unknown foreign player when you have a promising academy product at home already? It makes complete sense.
Having said all of that, selling Cole Palmer and signing Jeremy Doku was absolutely the right move for Manchester City. I’m not just saying this because Doku has looked like a generational player since joining City. Rather, Doku is the type of player that City needed in this team.
Cole Palmer is a class player. We saw it at City and we now see it at Chelsea. But if we are to be honest with ourselves, his profile of player was not really what City needed. They have it in spades. Palmer is a tidy left-footed right winger/attacking midfielder. He’s very good in tight spaces and an overall smart footballer.
The problem is, City already have two players who fit that profile but are much better than Palmer. Phil Foden and Bernardo Silva (and even a younger Oscar Bobb). With the departure of Riyad Mahrez, City needed to replace the threat from out wide. Mahrez provided the dynamism of getting the ball to feet and dribbling at his man. He was the guy on the team who made defenders look silly. He was the guy who you look to isolate on a fullback and let him do what he was put on this earth to do. I love Cole Palmer, but he is not that guy.
Palmer is a Toyota RAV4. Reliable, functional, and will do great things for you. But Jeremy Doku is a Ferrari. He’s the show-stopper. He’s the guy that terrifies every opposing player on the pitch. There’s a lot of nostalgia looking back on the days of 17/18 Sterling and Sane out wide running in behind and creating goal after goal.
When you really look at it, City have created just as much without them. But it’s not as exciting. City still create loads of chances, but it’s much more controlled. In a Manchester City team seemingly obsessed with “control” and “pausa” that we’ve heard since 2016, Jeremy Doku is the one who creates the chaos. If someone watched a game of football for the first time, Doku is the one that stands out.
Pep Guardiola is constantly evolving and changing the team. I believe the signing of Doku is more evidence of that evolution. City need a diverse set of quality players. Jack Grealish is a very very good winger, but he is a completely different type of player to Doku. Doku is really in a category of his own, and that’s an extremely powerful weapon.
If he doesn’t start, City can bring him on and he can completely change a game. He can start on the right or left. Depending on what Pep needs, he has another tool in the kit that provides something completely different to the team.
Cole Palmer is an excellent footballer, but Jeremy Doku is the winger that City needed.