James McAtee is the highly-rated prospect within the Etihad Campus who is believed to have caught Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s eye – the Dutchman spent time within Citygroup and studying Pep Guardiola during time out of management. Now he is apparently keen on returning to the Premier League champions to bring one of their emerging talents to defend Rangers’ Scottish crown.
Here are some reasons why …
Who is he?
James McAtee is a 19-year-old attacking midfielder who currently plays for Manchester City in his hometown and has done throughout his teenage years, as well as picking up England caps at youth level.
What is McAtee’s football background?
By expiry of his current contract McAtee will have been on the blue half of Manchester for almost a decade, having joined the Academy at Eastlands aged 10 from rivals United and moving through the elite development ranks to the verge of the first-team.
City has been all he has known since a young age, and while he has made a senior debut as a late substitute against Everton in the Premier League last year, plus a TV bow against Swindon in the FA Cup, it is with the youth sides he has built his reputation in the EFL Trophy and UEFA Youth Champions League.
What sort of player is James McAtee and what can Rangers fans expect?
Manchester City have high hopes. Described by his club as a skilful, dynamic attacking midfielder, he plays through the centre of the pitch, mostly as a number 10, and has even picked up a nickname – the ‘Salford Silva’.
Rangers signed Amad Diallo this week to satisfy their right wing needs, but injury to Ianis Hagi means there is also a need to add creativity in the middle of the park – without leaving it all on Joe Aribo’s shoulders. McAtee is a different player from the Nigerian, and at first glance of his highlight reel you could be watching a young Phil Foden, but with the ability to knit the play between midfield and attack and get into the box himself, he will be a useful option for Rangers – or Girona, Aston Villa, Leicester, Brighton and Swansea City who are all among the clubs interested.
McAtee hits a decent set-piece and somersault celebration too.
What is the deal with James McAtee?
It’s unlikely to be a loan-to-buy situation with Manchester City having such high hopes for the youngster. He’s on a contract at the Etihad until 2023 but reports suggest any loan out is dependent on him committing his future to Eastlands for the foreseeable future, therefore if a move were to transpire it’s likely to be similar to Amad Diallo’s straight loan and used in his development, but to Rangers’ benefit too.
The fly in the ointment however, may be van Bronckhorst’s old Barcelona colleague Guardiola, who is said to prefer to keep McAtee close by for the remainder of the season.
For those into gaming, McAtee’s FIFA22 stats are as follows: Position – CAM, Overall – 62, Pace – 63, Shooting – 59, Passing – 58, Dribbling – 66, Defending – 43, Physical – 53.