Chelsea: Diego Costa – £32 million.
Arsenal: Alexis Sanchez – £35 million.
Manchester United: Ander Herrera – £29 million.
Manchester City: a free right back who isn’t as good as their first choice an average defensive midfielder to add to their numerous midfield options and a decent goalkeeper who may not even be better than Joe Hart.
The point I’m making? When it comes to summer squad strengthening, Man City are way behind the rest of their rivals and if they don’t take action soon, they could well pay the penalty for their relative inactivity.
On the face of it, their transfers do seem to make sense. A proven Premier League right-back with no transfer free, a midfielder to bolster their options in front of the defence and a goalkeeper to put pressure on their current number one.
But when you compare City’s moves with those of their rivals, it’s hard not to worry that the Citizens have not done what’s needed to build on their title success of last season.
Put it this way, Chelsea really weren’t that far behind City last season. They have now bought the striker who was commonly acknowledged to be their position of weakness last time and have also added a genuine playmaker to add a touch of class to their midfield.
United were way off the pace last season, but with Luke Shaw and Herrera joining, more recruits almost certainly on the way and wily old Louis van Gaal at the helm, the Red Devils are likely to be right back in the hunt for silverware this year.
Even Arsenal have been busy, adding the truly world-class Alexis Sanchez to an already fearsome set of attacking options.
In essence, the big clubs are making things happen. But City don’t seem to be. And if you’re a football historian, you’ll know that’s a problem.
When City won the title on goal difference in 2012, Roberto Mancini was hailed as a hero at the Etihad. But over the three months that followed that win and the start of the new season, Mancini singularly failed to add real quality to his squad. Whether that was the Italian’s doing or there wasn’t sufficient money available, we don’t know, but what we do know is that the results were disastrous for City.
In the end, Mancini’s men finished over ten points behind the league winners United, and Mancini was given his marching orders. Anyone else seeing a parallel develop here?
Just because City won the title last season, it does not mean that they will win it again. Good sides learn that they need to add to their squad following a triumph, recognising the fact that when you’re the best, everyone else wants to beat you just that little bit more.
In fact, that was one of the things that Sir Alex Ferguson was very good at: recognising that his side needed to develop and evolve in order to remain at the top.
What will worry City fans is that right now it doesn’t seem as if there are many players coming in. Of the big moves this season – Diego Costa, Cesc Fabregas, Toni Kroos etc – City didn’t seem to be in for any of them.
It almost seems as if City are confident enough in the squad that they currently have. But if we pick up on an earlier point once again, Manuel Pellegrini’s men only won the title because Liverpool dropped the ball. It wasn’t some amazing feat completely of their own accord.
If City fail to bring in some real quality in the next couple of weeks, there’s a good chance that they’ll fail to live up to heady heights of last season. And we all know what will happen then. If Pellegrini wants to keep his job, it’s time he does some recruiting.
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