Connect in the back of the net

Once again, this summer has been a very busy one for Manchester City. The Citizens have spent over £200 million on players and it doesn’t look like they’ve finished yet.

Having said this, many people have criticised their business this summer, believing that, though they’ve strengthened in key areas, that they’ve neglected certain positions.

So, has this summer been a successful one for Man City, or have they thrown money down the drain?

 

The full-back situation

Let’s start with the main issue, the full-backs. Guardiola without a shadow of a doubt needed to strengthen in this area, with the departures of Gael Clichy, Bacary Sagna, Pablo Zabaleta and Aleksandar Kolarov.

Guardiola first of all splashed out £50 million on Tottenham right-back Kyle Walker. We all know his strengths and his Premier League experience is a boost for Man City and overall, it was a fantastic way for Man City to start off their transfer window.

Next, Guardiola signed 23-year old left-back Benjamin Mendy from Monaco for £52 million. Undoubtedly a very talented player who has a lot of speed and strength and who goes up and down the left wing for 90 minutes with no problems at all.

Mendy had a magnificent season at Monaco, providing 8 assists during the season, and with the tutelage of Guardiola, Mendy could become the best left-backs in the world.

Finally, Man City signed Danilo from Real Madrid for £30 million. The versatile full-back had a couple of eye-catching seasons at FC Porto, before Los Blancos came calling, signing Danilo for around £25 million.

Yet he struggled to find his feet at Madrid, and quickly became a back-up option for Dani Carvajal. Since then, first team opportunities have been few and far between for the Brazilian, until Guardiola came calling, and he was quickly on his way to the Etihad.

So, clearly, the full-backs have been strengthened massively and Guardiola has succeeded with his targets, but at what price? Spending over £130 million on full-backs is unheard of.

Yes, Walker was bought from a Premier League rival so would obviously cost a lot more, but look at what Barcelona paid for Nelson Semedo. Barca paid just over £25 million for Semedo, a full-back who arguably suits Guardiola’s style of play more than Guardiola.

Then there’s Mendy, who has the potential to be world class. But, paying £52 million for a player who’s really only had one fantastic season in Ligue 1 is a massive gamble. While Danilo seems to be a backup option for both full-backs.

Why pay £30 million for a backup player when Man City could look at the abundance of players in their youth squads? These full-backs will be under the microscope throughout the season.

 

Is Bernardo Silva really needed?

There is no doubting the skill and quality of Bernardo Silva.

The Portuguese winger has had a few impressive seasons where he stared at Monaco and for the national team, and was Manchester City’s first purchase of the season for £43.5 million.

But is he what the Citizens need?

The competition for Silva’s position is unbelievably competitive already at City with the likes of Sterling, Sane, Silva, De Bruyne, Jesus and Gundogan all vying for what seems to be three places in the starting eleven, not to mention the returning Samir Nasri, who Guardiola has given a chance to over pre-season.

Their attacking threat is the best in the Premier League and didn’t really need strengthening.

 

The centre back position is a much more pressing issue

While at the other end of the pitch, the centre back issue needs to be addressed.

Manchester City only have one world class centre back in Vincent Kompany. When fit, Kompany is probably the best centre half in the Premier League, yet the past couple of seasons have been marred by injuries, and none of his replacements have really stepped up to the plate.

Yes, John Stones can be one of the best centre backs in the Premier League, but in a team which is hungry for glory, time is really of the essence, and his performances last season were average at best. Then you have the likes of Otamendi and Mangala, who have failed to stamp their authority in the defence.

There are so many players that City could invest in that would be perfect for their centre back issue. While it seems Virgil Van Dijk is on his way to Liverpool, there are loads of other options.

Why not try and buy back a player like Jerome Boateng? Boateng has become one of the best centre backs in the world at Bayern Munich.

Yet, with his injury last year, he lost his place in the squad and has really struggled to regain his place, competing with the likes of Mats Hummels, Javi Martinez and Joshua Kimmich.

Now with the signing of Niklas Sule, who has just had a fantastic season with Hoffenheim, Boateng’s place looks incredibly uncertain. Would Boateng be the answer to City’s defensive issue?

 

Is Ederson the new Bravo?

Another position which needed addressing was the goalkeeper position.

Claudio Bravo, simply, wasn’t good enough last season. He was at fault for a couple of City’s goals last season and out of the top six clubs, City’s goalkeepers had the worst season.

Now with the departure of Willy Caballero to Chelsea, City needed a goalkeeper, and decided to spend £35 million on Ederson from Benfica.

Like Mendy, Ederson is coming off a very good season in Portugal, and has the potential to be one of the best goalkeepers in the world, and he also loves to use his feet rather than his hands, a quality that Guardiola seems to love about his goalkeepers.

Yet, Ederson has mistakes in him, like his new teammate Bravo. Can Manchester City really have another season with a goalkeeper issue?

Yes, Guardiola has his issues with Joe Hart, but I would say he’s still a better goalkeeper than Ederson and Bravo. Hart knows the Premier League and knows when to use his feet in the area.

Even though Hart is coming off a woeful season in Italy, he’s still one of the best goalkeepers in the Premier League. I believe that if he and Guardiola kiss and make up, then City can get back to being a strong defensive unit with a strong base.

 

Verdict

Overall, City have strengthened in areas that needed to be.

They arguably have the best full-backs in the league, even though they’ve overpaid for them. Their attack is still the best in the league and they’ve invested in a new goalkeeper.

If City invest in another Kompany-like centre back like Boateng, they will have an even bigger chance of winning the league and even the Champions League.

So, we’ll be able to tell by the next transfer window in January if these signings have been a waste of money or not for the Blues.

    

 

Written by Sion Misra

Follow Sion on Twitter @sionmisra

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