Manchester City are reportedly close to signing Serbia defender Matija Nastasic from Fiorentina for a fee believed to be £12 million.
The 19-year-old has been a long time target for City manager Roberto Mancini and now it seems he’s about to secure his signature.
Stefan Savic is expected to head In the opposite direction as part of the exchange deal between the two clubs.
Like the other players in our Transfer Scouting Report series, Nastasic is fairly unheard amongst fans of English football. So, here’s a short summary of his career so far and a look at what he would bring to the Premier League Champions.
Age: 19 years old
Nastasic had been playing for FK Partizan’s feeder club Teletoptik before the made the move to Fiorentina at the age of just 18 years old
It did not take long into the 2011/12 pre-season to persuade the club’s management that the teenager had quality to make the breakthrough into the first team. But for the first few months of this campaign he remained very much a backup option.
In the latter half of the season, however, under new head coach Delio Rossi he really started to gain first team experience.
His first start came in Rossi’s first game in charge in November during a home match against title-chasing AC Milan. In this fixture, Fiorentina secured a valuable point following a goalless draw, immediately questions were being asked as to why it had taken so long to give Nastasic his chance.
With Rossi opting to use a three-man defence, Nastasic became one of the first names on the team sheet for the remainder of the 2011/12 season.
The 19 year old started the new Serie A campaign last weekend in a 2-1 home win over Udinese. This fixture came under his third coach in a year; Vincenzo Montella.
At International level, Nastasic has have represented Serbia at all levels, including two full caps for the first team alongside, Manchester United captain, Nemanja Vidic.
Positioning and Ability
Nastasic plays most commonly as a central defender, but during his time at Fiorentina he has also established himself as an effective left back.
The 19 year old has the physical attributes and technique needed to make the breakthrough at the highest level of football.
With his natural pace and composure on the ball, not to mention his raw strength, he is destined to dominate centre of defence but has stated in the past that he is still learning his trade so he is willing to play in whatever position he is required.
Nastasic is often compared to his international teammate Vidic, if he reaches anywhere near this level he’ll be a top player for Manchester City.
How will he fit in?
Expect Nastasic to feature as a backup player for the first season at the Etihad, acting as a rotation option for Lescott and Kompany.
If he does join the club, I’m sure he’ll establish himself as the first team centre back within a few seasons, especially under the watchful eye of Roberto Mancini.