Belgium's Jeremy Doku, left, challenges for the ball with Austria's Konrad Laimer during the Euro 2024 group F qualifying soccer match between Austria and Belgium at the Ernst Happel stadium in Vienna, Austria, Friday, Oct. 13, 2023.

Man City’s electrifying star boy is reviving the art of touchline wingers one take-on at a time

Manchester City have been the undisputed champions of total football since Pep Guardiola’s arrival in 2016, which has often come with accusations of being boring to watch – but not anymore.

In what we’ll probably look back on as quietly one of the most important summer transfer windows in the club’s history, City were tasked with replenishing a squad that had just won its first-ever continental treble.

That’s immediately much easier when money is quite literally no concern at all, but there’s having the money to do it and there’s doing it well.

And while all the eyes were on the big-money arrival of Josko Gvardiol, the somewhat surprising departure of Riyad Mahrez left them with a sizeable hole to fill on the flank.

Replacing a winger of Mahrez’s calibre and profile in today’s game is difficult as is, so when you’re recruiting someone to come into the fold at City and get to grips with Guardiola’s extremely intricate demands, it could take some time.

But then they found Jeremy Doku – and all that was once disturbed in the balance of the force that is Premier League football was restored once again.

The 21-year-old Belgian has been a complete breath of fresh air, getting off to – literally – a lightning quick start at his new club after signing from Rennes for £55million.

He’s been so good that people are fearing for the career of a certain Jack Grealish, who had just started to come into his own at the Etihad, but is now staring the Kalvin Phillips role in the face.

And while on international duty with Belgium against Austria, it was abundantly clear to see why people are fearing for Grealish.

Doku is a freak of nature with the ball at his feet. There’s nothing in the universe that could stop this man from attempting to spin his marker into oblivion and we are here for it.

An entertainer and a pure footballer all rolled into one. When he’s done kicking a ball, there’s a spot in the main event of WrestleMania for Doku, because he gets you off your seat alright.

In an era of passing teams to death and the importance of retaining possession, wingers can get lost in the shuffle of instructions and tactics, to the point where stepovers and bursts of pace have been replaced by poxy sideways passes and jockeying an opponent to slow down play.

Boring. Sickening, actually. It should be outlawed and Doku is doing his very best to bring it to justice, with a catalogue of drag backs, turns and flashes of pace that could give you a lethal dose of whiplash.

Brings a tear to your eye, doesn’t it? It’s beautiful.

Jack Grealish, we love you to bits, but we might actually love Doku even more. Certainly right now.

Anywhere on the pitch, free as a bird or under immense pressure, the 21-year-old is desperate to swallow up ground moving forward.

That ‘f*ck this, I’m doing him’ attitude doesn’t just give us life – it’s breathing it back into our beautiful Barclays.

Just you wait until the winter gloves and the long socks come out. He’ll be cooking at worryingly high heat.

Our saviour has arrived, and he comes with a catalogue of tricks, flicks and nauseating bursts of pace that’ll make defenders consider early retirement.

By Mitch Wilks

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