With Man City having defensive issues as of late, it is no wonder Pep Guardiola will likely be looking for a defender in this January transfer window. One player who has drawn attention is German centre-back Holger Badstuber. Badstuber has been at Bayern Munich his entire career and worked under Pep Guardiola during his three seasons at the Bavarian giants. The centre back is only 27 and made his Bundesliga debut at 19 years of age under former Manchester United manager Louis Van Gaal. He had a shaky world cup 2010 campaign but after improvements to his performances, he went to the Euro 2012 where he shone at the centre of defence alongside Jeromé Boateng, this partnership was seen as the future of Germany’s defence. He built a very solid partnership with Boateng in the 2011-2012 season, where they got to the Champions League final but lost out to Chelsea.
Holger Badstuber (left) and Jerome Boateng (right) at Bayern Munich during the 2011-2012 season.
Sadly, for a player who was seen to have the brightest of futures, injuries have limited the centre back. He has had several different injuries ever since the 2012-2013 season, having injured his anterior cruciate ligament in late 2012 and then after coming back from the injury, in May of 2013, he had the same injury again, which led to him missing the entire 2013-2014 season. Pep Guardiola selected him for a friendly in 2014 and it was the first time he had played for almost 600 days. In the 2014-2015 season, Badstuber started the first few games of the season, until a thigh injury ruled him out for the remainder of 2014.
When he returned from injury, he re-established himself as a first team regular, with Guardiola liking him for his defensive abilities and his ability to bring the ball out from the back, similar to Gerard Piqué’s role at Barcelona and how Boateng could for Bayern also. Badstuber made it injury-free from February to April before rupturing his quadricep,s which ruled him out for the remainder of the season. The season after, Guardiola experimented with playing David Alaba at centre back next to Boateng, due to being unable to rely on Badstuber and his poor injury record. Putting into perspective, in all competitions, he has only been able to play 43 games from 2012 to 2016 due to injury.
Badstuber is loved by his team mates as shown here, where before a game against FC Augsberg, the players all wore pre-match shirts with Badstuber’s name on the back with a message on the front which translates as, “We’re with you, you can do it again”, in an attempt to support Badstuber to come back from injury once more.
With City having Kompany injured for what seems an eternity and with only two other first-team centre-backs, it would make sense to go after another centre back but with Badstuber’s injury problems it could be a risk. He has all the attributes to become a world-class centre back but his injuries are sadly ruining it for him.
This article was written by Ben Tipper. Twitter @bentippermcfc
Featured Image credit: Cléria De Souza