Let’s Talk: Šime Vrsaljko with Adam Digby

In recent weeks City have been linked with a host of footballers and one such footballer is Croatian full-back Šime Vrsaljko. Regular players of the Football Manager/Championship Manager series will already know all about him but for those who don’t, we caught up with Italian football expert Adam Digby to pick his brain about the player.

Firstly, since no doubt it will be the first question Blues have – how on earth do you pronounce that name?

“Shi-may Ver-sigh-ko”.

He moved from Genoa to Sassuolo a couple of years ago – did things not work out at Genoa for him?

He was a regular under Fabio Liverani but results were bad and Gasperini took over, went to his favoured 3-4-3 formation, and inexplicably favoured Marco Motta. But we must remember that Vrsaljko was also only 21.

Although he’s primarily a right-back how versatile is he?

He can play as a full-back or a wing-back on the right and has filled in on the left too, especially for Croatia where Srna is established on the right.

What are his strongest attributes?

He is strong, athletic and is very quick, his crossing – and passing in general – has improved every season. He’s a smart defender, a player who follows tactical instructions and tracks direct opponents to great effect.

What are his weakest attributes?

Crossing from the left – his left foot isn’t great – he’s weak in the air and is occasionally guilty of giving away cheap fouls in Serie A which he’d probably get away with in the Premier League due to how the games are often officiated.

Do you think he is someone who could flourish in the Premier League?

Certainly. He’s a quality defender who continues to improve.

Instinctively do you think he’s a Pep Guardiola type of player?

Hard to say as he’s a genuine back-four full-back at Sassuolo with a clearly defined role. He’s never played for a coach who gets as cute as Guardiola tactically and until you see it there’s no way to know.

How likely is it that he will move to City in your opinion?

If he wants that challenge there’s no doubt City can afford him. Again, it would depend on if he decides to try English football. A few big clubs in Italy are interested and he might prefer that at this stage.

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