By Harry Newton
Manchester City may not have been able to retain their crown as Kings of England last season, as Chelsea eased past them to the finish line, but they have definitely taken the crown for Kings of the transfer window. This window saw City add English talent, statements of intent and a few shrewd moves—all whilst offshoring some dead wood. Whilst Arsene Wenger remained motionless, Jose Mourinho panicked late-on and Louis van Gaal tried to work out what to do with David de Gea—Manuel Pellegrini brushed himself down and showcased City’s muscle to the world.
The British are coming!
After the exits of Frank Lampard and James Milner, it was important for the blues to get English talent. First in was Fabian Delph. This transfer was never going to look good—City had lost out on Pogba and United had just signed Schweinsteiger and Schneiderlin. To make matters worse, Delph circled the roundabout outside Villa Park for three days, deciding if he wanted to leave or not, before coming to Manchester. But, in times where English players cost twice as much as any other player, the Villa captain and England international signed for a cool £8 million. Comfortable on the ball, a proven leader and a bargain means that Delph is a great acquisition for the blues.
In 2008 City spent just £6 million on Vincent Kompany—to then splash out £32 million on Robinho the day later—and City did something similar again in 2015. In typical City fashion, they followed up their bargain by spending £44 million on Raheem Sterling. Despite the price tag, Sterling has lit the premier league on fire in these early games and been one of City’s best players with a fresh injection of pace. City also added Patrick Roberts from Fulham to their books.
These players tick the home-grown box, and will only improve whilst in City’s set-up. Maybe one day they could help England reach a semi-final before the next millennium!
City are a team filled with stars—and yet they have been struggling in the Champions League the last few years. This year City have addressed this and bought real powerhouses.
Vincent Kompany has always been the main man in defence and one of the best in the world, but he has never been given stability with a defensive partner as good as himself. Enter Otamendi. As one of Europe’s best in his own right, Otamendi could be the answer to City’s European woes! That is, if he can get into the team past in-form Mangala.
City didn’t just stop here though, they then bought another of the world’s greatest stars—the Bundesliga Player of the Year. Kevin de Bruyne, after months of pestering, joined the blues this August. Despite Silva, Agüero, Toure and the gang all being great attacking players, they have struggled in the Champions League, and de Bruyne will add that necessary bit of attacking talent to the team. It’s been a while since City have attracted a world class talent to the club, so to steal away the best player in Germany last year from the oncoming claws of PSG and Bayern Munich, is a great deal.
The Italians are good for many things—tailoring, wine, lasagne, and taking away the deadwood from Manchester City. This window saw Edin Džeko and Stevan Jovetić jet off to Italy.
Džeko may have scored some of the most important goals in City’s recent history, (let’s not forget that for Sergio Agüero to score the winner against QPR, somebody had to equalise) but the goals had dried out! A lethargic performance can always be justified if you finish the game off with a neat header in the corner of the net, but unfortunately Džeko‘s neat headers ran out and so did his energy, as he became more lethargic each game. Džeko leaves the club at just the right time—he will go away and score important goals for Roma and still be remembered by the City fans for the good he did.
Jovetić, however, didn’t actually do very much in his time at City—it is difficult to pinpoint a standout moment or a standout goal. Jovetić is a classic ‘could-have-been’ story. Despite the small return made on these sales, their exit (on such high wages too) will allow more chances for youngsters and Wilfried Bony.
They grow up so fast
This may have been City’s best window for a long time, but it wasn’t all good news at the Etihad! Despite millions being spent on a brand new training complex to further the City academy, we’ve seen a few of the youngsters treated harshly this summer. The entrance of Otamendi and De Bruyne saw chances limited for Jason Denayer and Rony Lopes, despite both being given assurances of playing time before the new enforcements arrived. Due to this, Lopes completed a permanent transfer to AS Monaco, and Denayer has been sent out on loan to Galatasaray. In addition to this, highly-rated Karim Rekik went to Marseille, and long-time City boy Dedryck Boyata left for Celtic.
Despite this, positivity does still linger! Academy prospect Kelechi Iheanacho (try saying that four times standing on one leg) has been promoted to the first team and became third choice striker behind Agüero and Bony. Furthermore, it is presumed that Denayer will return next season when Demichelis departs. With so much talent in City’s youngsters, it is expected that many won’t make the cut, but this won’t stop disheartened blues keeping an eye on the departing youngsters, to see what could have been.
Despite a fantastic squad at City ready to take on the world, there are a few potential banana skins to be aware of. City have left themselves with just three strikers—and Iheanacho has only played a few minutes of premier league football thus far. One injury (and heaven knows that Agüero and Bony are prone) could see City in trouble. Furthermore, Yaya Toure and Fernandinho may be more than capable to contain the midfield, but their back-up fellow centre midfielders—Fernando and Delph—may not be to the same standard. The big question for City this season is, will their depth be good enough? If the transfers of the other big teams in the Premier League are anything to go by… then yes it will.
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