Manchester City head coach Pep Guardiola is now rifling through an array of Florian Wirtz player stats, as he prepares a potential €80 million bid for the Leverkusen midfielder in January.
This after the revelation that star midfielder Kevin De Bruyne will not return until early 2024.
De Bruyne suffered a serious injury in the opening game of this Premier League campaign against Burnley, and with a five-month absence being the initial prognosis, it’s hard to imagine the 32-year-old icon making a particularly easy comeback next spring.
But as box-ready replacements go, the City boss could do much worse than to take on hot prospect Wirtz.
Florian Wirtz player stats – The good, the better and the awesome
After Kai Havertz, Florian Wirtz is the next big thing from Leverkusen’s academy. Already armed with nine international caps, he made his debut in May 2020 and has played 107 competitive games until now, while scoring 25 goals and providing 32 assists.
Those numbers would surely be higher too, but for a serious injury back in 2020.
As of the September international break, Wirtz is also outperforming a lot of squad members several years his senior. According to Whoscored, his average number of key passes per game stands at 4.3 – bettered only by Hoffenheim’s Andrej Kramaric and equalled only by Bayern’s Alphonso Davies.
Meanwhile, only Bremen’s Romano Schmid is averaging more through-balls per game than Wirtz right now.
In a record that contains just one defeat since the start of 2020/21, Wirtz also boasts an impressive 80%-win rate from 15 goalscoring Bundesliga games in his blossoming career (W12-D1-L2).
Most recently, in a match for which he was amongst the first names in the XI, Wirtz netted a matchwinner vs Leipzig on day one, meaning that half of his six most recent league goals with Die Werkself have proven decisive in victory.
Why City move suits Florian Wirtz
In particular, the departures of Neymar and Lionel Messi give them the feel of a team in transition, while Real Madrid’s huge expenditure on Jude Bellingham casts doubt over whether there is sufficient room for Wirtz amongst Los Blancos’ talented midfield.
Where both City and Leverkusen are concerned, the reliance on distinguished playmakers is a significant part of success on the field.
For their part, City went into the September international break boasting a perfect league record, but with Liverpool once again looking like the biggest thorn in their side – alongside the disruptive influence of a Champions League title defence – Guardiola’s contingency plans for January have to start now.
After all, City still have yet another record to follow up last season’s treble with, since no side has ever won four straight English titles since records began.
It’s a shot at immortality which a young upstart like Florian Wirtz would most certainly relish, making this fledgling saga a potential headline-stealer at the dawn of 2024.