Change afoot at Manchester City in summer as operation overhaul takes precedence
Manchester City, 5/2 with Coral to win the Premier League next term, cannot afford to let another summer pass without strengthening considerably. Granted, they papered over cracks last year and, ultimately, got it wrong.
The signing of Eliaquim Mangala from Porto for a staggering £32m proved to be a wrong decision, and steps are likely to be taken to prevent the same thing from happening again.
There have been reports that manager Manuel Pellegrini could be on his way; however, it appears that there doesn’t seem to be a problem regarding his relationship between himself and his players. The club won their remaining six games of the season, even inflicting a 6-0 defeat on QPR.
Where there seems to be a problem, however, is a lack of quality in depth, which has been highlighted as something that should have been remedied in last summer’s transfer market.
Granted, they were hamstrung by Financial Fair Play, though, they still spent £50m on three players, as well as signing Frank Lampard on loan, while Bacary Sagna moved on a free transfer.
City have been linked with a number of top players in the market for this summer, as the club prepare to challenge champions Chelsea next term.
However, it is quite possible, that they might move a number of players on, with James Milner linked to Liverpool on a free transfer, while the likes of Samir Nasri, Yaya Toure, Edin Dzeko, Stevan Jovetic, Fernando and Jesus Navas are likely to be surplus to requirements.
Kevin De Bruyne has been a protracted target for the club, and there is no doubt he would be an upgrade on the creative options they already have, except perhaps David Silva.
Operating in the hole behind the striker, Sergio Aguero would lap up the number of chances he could create, with the 23-year-old having laid on 28 assists this season.
Should Dzeko and Jovetic be offloaded, it would make room for another recent target, Roberto Firmino, who has caught the attention of a number of top clubs while at Hoffenheim this season. The Brazilian, who is capable of playing as a number nine, would add another dimension to the City attack and the prospect of him linking up with Aguero is likely to make City fans’ mouths water.
With a left back also said to be a priority, they have been linked to West Ham’s Aaron Cresswell, who is being tipped to be an England regular, over the next few years. However, it is at centre back, which may need the most attention.
With Mangala failing to acclimatise to the Premier League and Martin Demichellis getting older, a move for Atletico Madrid’s Toby Alderweireld, who spent last term on loan at Southampton, could be a wise decision. He would link up with compatriot Vincent Kompany, and the duo could form a formidable partnership.
It could certainly be an interesting summer at the Etihad, though with clubs around them set to spend, City know they have to upgrade.