Concern over City’s transfer plans while rivals look to strengthen
Today the broadsheets report that Roberto Mancini has headed to Abu Dhabi to discuss the summer’s transfer targets, with the intention of asking for more to be spent. Also present will be Garry Cook and Brian Marwood, who are believed to favour culling a few players from the wage bill before making a couple of signings.
City’s plan was to splash the cash prior to Financial Fair Play on young, quality players that will set the squad up for the long term and only need tweaking from now on. An impoved supply line from the Academy would provide future talent.
That’s a great plan in theory, but in practice squads tend to need regular investment. Roman Abramovich found that out this season when his young players failed to fill the shoes of injured stars.
City’s problem is that too many of our expensive purchases have failed to deliver. Mancini has done brilliantly in securing third place, but whenever he tried to rotate the team to any extent, we struggled.
Therefore he’s right to argue that we need several quality players if we’re to push on in the Premier League while competing in the Champions League. The challenge of staying in the top four shouldn’t be underestimated when we look at the transfer plans of our rivals.
In contrast to City, they all seem clear about what they are going to do this Summer:
- United have confirmed a goalkeeper in De Gea with Ashley Young and possibly Schneider being brought in as the long term replacements for Giggs and Scholes.
- Chelsea are reported to be looking at bringing in five players – Neymar, van der Wiel, Lukaku, Kevin de Bruyne and a back-up goalkeeper. An expensive and impressive set of signings if they pull them off.
- Liverpool are openly talking about bringing in a raft of players, in addition to Suarez and Carroll. That should see them pushing hard for a top four place next season.
- For once Harry Redknapp is correct in thinking he only needs a couple of quality players to turn his side into contenders. A realiable goalkeeper and potent striker could have made all the difference to Spurs last season. Ben Foster could be between the sticks next season.
- Even Arsene Wenger is speaking openly about Benzema, and confirmed he will be active in the market.
If City don’t add quality players this summer, then there is a danger of the ground we have claimed being retaken by Spurs and Liverpool.
Yet it’s the job of Cook to worry about conforming to Financial Fair Play, while it’s the job of Mancini to have the team challenging next season. It’s not hard to see how tension can appear.
Marwood appears to be on Cook’s side and may be less willing than Mancini to inform the owners that some signings haven’t worked out and more need to be made. However the gaps in City’s squad are apparent, and signings should be along these lines:
- Wide player as an alternative to Adam Johnson. With Wright-Phillips set to leave, there’s a place in the squad. Alexis Sanchez or Juan Mata would be ideal.
- Cover for de Jong. Whenever the dutchman is missing, City look laboured and vulnerable in midfield. A central midfielder is also required as an alternative to Barry, who too often struggles to shine.
- A quality left-back. Kolarov has disappointed and we need someone other than the right-footed Zabaleta. Slighty concerning is talk of defensive reinforcement focussing on Gary Cahill. Boateng is primarily a centre-back and it would be preferable to see him get a run of games in his preferred position.
- Cover for Joe Hart if Shay Given leaves.
- Biggest of all would be a replacement for Tevez if he leaves.
There was a reassuring tweet from The M.E.N.’s James Robson earlier:
mancini in abu dhabi talks – but manager and hierarchy not a million miles apart over money that needs to be spent to make #mcfc champions
It’s worth bearing in mind that Cook was watching Alexis Sanchez recently, and the Udinese attacker is a player who won’t come cheap. Hopefully the talks will be positive and the club will back Mancini while finding a way of conforming to Financial Fair Play.