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Marc Cucurella - Should he stay or should he go?

As the transfer window draws closer to a shut, clubs up and down the country have been working around the clock to secure their final summer signings. However, whilst some clubs have been able to complete deals with relative ease, others have found their progress impeded by an inability to agree on financial terms. In the case of Cucurella, it would appear his potential Manchester City move would fall into the category of the latter. The Spanish International has been of great interest to his fellow countryman Pep Guardiola, however his parent club, Brighton, remain resistant to any offers made by Guardiola’s Manchester City.

But would Marc Cucurella actually benefit from a Manchester City move, or is this just a case of money being needlessly thrown around by the Champions? In this article, the pros and cons of Cucurella’s potential departure will be discussed, in addition to an overview of the Spaniard’s transfer saga.

So then- what’s happened so far?

To understand the summer saga involving Cucurella, it is important to begin by taking last season into account. As Brighton supporters will agree, Marc Cucurella’s performances in the last league campaign earned the Spanish International plenty of plaudits.

The 24-year-old left back had a super season for the Seagulls, with his efforts guiding the south coast side to a record high league finish. Signing on for the Seagulls in August 2021, Cucurella would go on to outperform several defenders in his debut season, including the Ukrainian international Oleksandr Zinchenko.

Despite finishing the 2021/22 season with a Premier League winners medal, Zinchenko was ultimately unable to exceed Cucurella in several aspects of his game, with the Ukrainian falling behind Cucurella in areas such as goals scored, clean sheets and tackles completed. Therefore, when Zinchenko departed the Citizens for Arsenal in July, it appeared to be a no-brainer for Pep Guardiola when deciding a suitable replacement for the Ukrainian, earning Cucurella a spot at the top of City’s wish list.

However, the champions have been unsuccessful thus far in their attempts to land a deal for the Spanish international. Initially, Manchester City submitted an offer of £30 million for Cucurella, however this was swiftly rejected by the Seagulls. Whilst Marc Cucurella remains Pep’s priority, it is understood that they are currently not willing to settle for Brighton’s price tag of £50 million, meaning that Cucurella’s potential Manchester City move remains in the balance.

However, if the move was to go ahead, would it be the right one for all parties involved, particularly the man set to make the move? Below are the pros and cons for Cucurella in his potential move to the Premier League champions:

Scenario one: Cucurella signs for City

Pro: Champions League football for the first time

For any player yet to play in the UEFA Champions League, the possibility of playing in the competition must be an exciting one. In the case of Cucurella, it is difficult to imagine that the Spanish International would not be feeling excited about the possibility of playing in Europe’s biggest competition.

However, if Cucurella is to play European football in any form next season, it cannot happen if he is to remain at Brighton. Despite an impressive season for the Seagulls last time out, the south coast side’s 9th placed finish in the Premier League means that, if Cucurella were to stay at Brighton, his best chance of being in Europe next season would be on a player’s stag do, rather than on a football pitch.

Although Cucurella has played in a European cup competition before, featuring eight times for Spanish side Getafe CF in their 2019/20 UEFA Europa League campaign, the possibility of playing in the UEFA Champions League for the first time may prove to be the selling point for the Spanish International in deciding his future.

Con: Cucurella could fail to adapt

Whilst the potential of a Manchester City move may seem tempting for Cucurella, it is important to remember that the grass is not always greener on the other side. As seen with several players in premier league campaigns of the past, a move away to a so called ‘big six’ side does not guarantee a drastically improved career for the player.

In fact, if Cucurella were to move to Manchester City and fail to find the form of his time at Brighton, it would not be the first time in recent years that a player has failed to find their feet after joining the Citizens.

Instead, Cucurella would be following the footsteps of last year’s £100 million pound man Jack Grealish. The former Aston Villa midfielder signed for City in August 2021 on a six-year deal, however, after a year with Pep Guardiola’s side, the 26-year-old has failed thus far to find the form which earned him the plaudits at Aston Villa. Despite making the same amount of league appearances for Manchester City in the 2021/22 campaign as he did with Aston Villa in 2020/21, Grealish was able to record a far better rate of goals and assists in the 2020/21 campaign in comparison to the following season. The English midfielder picked up a combined total of 16 goals and assists in his final season with Aston Villa, in comparison to just six in his debut season with the Citizens, something which would have undoubtedly unsettled Pep Guardiola.

Therefore, whilst the potential of playing Champions League football may seem tempting for Cucurella, it must be considered whether the potential of playing in Europe is worth the risk of a dampened career.

Scenario Two: Cucurella stays at Brighton

Pro: Cucurella could become a Brighton legend

Whilst the title of a ‘legend’ is thrown around perhaps far too often in modern times, particularly in football, Brighton fans will feel that Marc Cucurella has all the hallmarks of a potential Premier League all- timer.

After just one season in England’s top flight, the 24-year-old has earned himself a large number of plaudits, excelling in the left back position to such a degree that several of the league’s other left backs have been put to shame.

Although Brighton’s achievements in the previous league campaign must be recognised as a team effort, there is no denying the exceptional role played by Cucurella in guiding the Seagulls to their best ever season. As Brighton fans will agree, Cucurella is Brighton’s best chance of the Seagull’s continuing their upward trajectory in the top flight.

His stay at the Seagulls could help transform the club into a side that regularly competes for a European spot. If Cucurella were to leave for City, it is likely he would just be another player for Pep’s side. In fact, Guardiola has already hinted that a failure to sign Cucurella would not be the end of the world for the Citizens.

Speaking to Daily Mail’s Jack Gaughan on City’s interest in Cucurella, Guardiola said that ‘We are in negotiations. If it doesn't happen, we’ve alternatives… Cancelo, Wilson-Esbrand is a young talent, Ake can play there’. Therefore, if Cucurella wishes to be remembered as a legend for a club that loves him, his best option would be to stay with the Seagulls.

Con: Staying with the Seagulls could prevent Spain call ups

With the 2022 FIFA World Cup edging ever closer, players across Europe’s top leagues will be hoping that their performances in the upcoming league campaign will be enough to earn them a spot on the plane for their national sides. Among these players will be Marc Cucurella, with his incredible debut season for the Seagulls rendering him a possible contender for Spain’s left back spot in Qatar.

However, despite his impressive start to life in the Premier League, the international dream has not yet materialised for Cucurella. The Spanish international has only made one appearance for his country, playing just 45 minutes of 4-0 friendly win over Lithuania in June 2021. During his first season at Brighton, Cucurella failed to make a single appearance for the Spanish national side, a worrying factor for the 24-year-old left back if he does hope to feature in this year’s World Cup.

Unfortunately for Brighton fans, Cucurella’s World Cup dream would be more likely to materialise if he were to move to Manchester City. This is ultimately due to the fact that playing in the UEFA Champions League would provide Cucurella with the experience of playing against football's elite, a necessary factor for any player hoping to feature for their national side at a major tournament.

Therefore, if Cucurella is serious about a Spain call up in Qatar, he must depart his parent club and join his countryman Pep Guardiola at Manchester City, otherwise he will be unable to earn the attention of Spain manager Luis Enrique.

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