Joshua Wilson-Esbrand: Who is Man City youngster seen as alternative to Marc Cucurella?

We take a look at Manchester City academy star Joshua Wilson-Esbrand, the man considered to be an option by Pep Guardiola at left-back.

Manchester City have had a busy transfer window so far with the arrivals of Erling Haaland, Kalvin Phillips and Stefan Ortega, while January signing Julian Alvarez also joined the team for the first time.

The Sky Blues began their pre-season schedule with a 2-1 win over Club America on 20 July in Houston. Kevin de Bruyne netted twice for Pep Guardiola’s side.

Despite their impressive transfer activity so far, it seems Guardiola isn’t fully happy with his squad just yet, with the Catalan pursuing Brighton & Hove Albion defender Marc Cucurella.

Guardiola has now confirmed his interest in the 23-year-old this summer, but has admitted if he fails to bring him to the Etihad this summer, he has alternatives at City in the left-back position.

Brighton and Hove Albion player Marc Cucurella has been linked with moves to Premier League rivals Chelsea and Manchester City

Speaking to the media, as quoted by Jack Gaughan, the Sky Blues manager said: “If it doesn’t happen [signing Cucurella] we have alternatives… [Joao] Cancelo, Wilson-Esbrand is a young talent, [Nathan] Ake can play there.”

Joao Cancelo and Nathan Ake are the more well-known names amongst the options, but Joshua Wilson-Esbrand not so much.

Who is Wilson-Esbrand?

The 19-year-old is part of City’s Under-23 team having joined them from West Ham United in 2019. He made his first team debut for Guardiola’s side in their 6-1 Carabao Cup third round win over Wycombe Wanderers, starting at left-back and providing an assist for Riyad Mahrez’s goal.

Last season’s form

Wilson-Esbrand regularly featured for Brian Barry-Murphy’s Under-23 team last campaign, making 14 appearances in their Premier League 2 title-winning season, scoring once and registering one assist.

Youth international

The left-back has represented England at U18 and U20 level, making his debut for the latter mentioned team last year in their 2-0 loss to Portugal in the 2021–22 Under 20 Elite League.

How likely is he to feature in the first team?

Whether Wilson-Esbrand will receive gametime under Guardiola next season all depends on whether the Sky Blues sign Cucurella.

If the Spainard does join City, then it’s likely that Wilson-Esbrand will remain part of the club’s U23 side and potentially feature in the League Cup if the Sky Blues draw a lower league team.

However, if Cucurella fails to agree a move to the Etihad this opens up the door for Wilson-Esbrand to become Guardiola’s second choice left-back next campaign, especially with Oleksandr Zinchenko set to sign for Arsenal and Ake better suited to playing at centre-back.