Despite Manchester City’s uncharacteristic low-key action in the transfer window, are they still strong enough to win the Premier League? Iain Anderson discusses.
A lot is said regarding what should be done in the aftermath of a championship winning season. It’s a generally held opinion that this is the time to strengthen. The assumption is that the other teams, particularly the ones finishing in second, third and fourth will wish to improve upon their position in the coming season and will, therefore, be looking for new recruits.
Although still early in the transfer window there has been no real sign of City displaying any desire to strengthen their squad.
Yes, they have bought Fernando, but one assumes he will either replace Fernandinho or be a back up for the Brazilian. They have also bought Willy Caballero from Malaga but, having released Costel Pantilimon who has gone to Sunderland, this only replaces their second choice goalkeeper. Taking Bacary Sagna on a free and buying Bruno Zuculini for the future only marginally strengthens the squad by providing cover for Pablo Zabaleta.
There is still plenty of time of course and City are still looking like favourites to buy Eliaquim Mangala but with his fee being around £32 million and having already spent around £22 million, City will have to sell somebody; Jack Rodwell or Micah Richards being favourites at present to fulfil the requirements of Financial FairPlay, which dictates that they can have a net spend of £49 million.
The word from the Etihad is that if/when the Mangala deal is completed there will be no more incomings for this window.
In conclusion and to try to provide an answer to the headline question, yes, Manchester City will be slightly improved if they buy Mangala. He is definitely an upgrade to Martin Demichelis and Matija Nastassic.
However, if they make no more purchases then this writer does not see a stronger squad than last season, when they were, however, just about strong enough and good enough to win the Premier League.
It should make for a nervy few weeks at the Etihad.
Iain Anderson, Pundit Arena.