Elaquim Mangala was the most expensive defender in English football when he signed for Manchester City from Porto in 2016, but his spell in the Premier League was largely disappointing.
Mangala struggled during his time at City and despite featuring heavily under Manuel Pellegrini he would end up spending a season and a half of his five years on loan at both Valencia and Everton, failing to live up to his lofty price tag.
The French defender moved to Valencia on a permanent deal at the beginning of this season marking the end of his time at City and spoke to The Athletic’s Adam Crafton in an all-encompassing interview earlier this week.
Mangala touched upon his time at City and Everton and outlined that he found the transition to the Premier League difficult and singled out Southampton and Ireland striker Shane Long as the frontman who took him most by surprise.
“Shane Long!” he said.
“If you see him, you feel like he is quite small but he is so fast. He jumps, he runs, he presses and you feel like ‘WHAT?!’ You don’t see this kind of striker in Spain or Portugal, running, jumping on you, constantly trying to unsettle and beat you.
‘That’s what makes the Premier League totally different.”
Long has always been a handful for defenders throughout his Premier League career and has seen an upturn in form this season striking a strong partnership with Danny Ings at Southampton.
The 33-year-old will be hoping that his strong form as of late can help him gain a recall to the Irish squad ahead of their crucial Euro 2020 playoff against Slovakia in March.
Long has yet to feature for his country since Mick McCarthy took over from Martin O’Neill towards the end of 2018 but he is certainly in contention for a potential recall.