If there was surprise at the dubious timing of Bayern Munich’s announcement that Mario Gotze, still representing their Champions League final opponents Borussia Dortmund, was to join them at the end of the season, the blame should be put at the door of Manchester City. That is according to Bayern’s Chief Executive Karl Heinz Rummenigge who has claimed a City representative was so bitter at missing out on Gotze, he leaked the news prematurely after a “glass of wine”.
That will come as an indication of just how desperate City were to launch their summer spending in a bid to recapture the Premier League title. Gotze opted to join Guardiola’s Bayern for €30 million but it was unlikely City were outbid considering their extraordinary spending power under the guidance of the Etihad group.
In fact, the representative’s bitterness isn’t likely to have lasted long as he would have watched the club regroup and embark on a summer of gargantuan spending that is perhaps still not finished.
A total of £97 million has been spent on four players, Stevan Jovetic, Fernandinho and the Spanish duo of Jesus Navas and Alvaro Negredo. Given the disapproval Roberto Mancini was so vocal with last summer, allowed to spend over £50 million on Jack Rodwell, Javi Garcia, Maicon, Matija Nastasic and Scott Sinclair, the chances of Pellegrini sharing the same disenchantment for this summer’s business is remote. Mancini was accused of failing to build on a title winning side, Pellegrini seems to be making one.
To do it, the Chilean coach is seemingly installing hunger and desire in the squad, traits that may have been lacking at times last season. Manchester City’s Chief Executive Ferran Soriano promised “three or four world class signings” at the start of summer and it seems as if he has delivered with players who have yet, with the exception of Fernandinho, to play regularly at the highest level of the Champions League. Fernandinho enjoyed unparalleled success with Shakhtar Donetsk out in Ukraine but a move to the Premier League still represents a major step-up.
It may not be a coincidence that two players who have won it all, Carlos Tevez and Maicon, have been allowed to leave Eastlands this summer, Pellegrini instead choosing to go down the avenue of relatively established players who have been limited to mild success.
It is only Fernandinho out of that quartet to have witnessed winning a league title and in the case of Stevan Jovetic, he has yet to win a thing. They will arrive in Manchester with a burning ambition to win trophies in direct contrast to the lack of motivation that may have mutated from a “been there, done that” attitude supplemented by extremely high wages. Maicon, used as a third-choice right-back, reportedly earned £110k a week, it was little surprise to see a culture of complacency and reports of dressing room unrest eventually contribute to Mancini’s exit.
Jovetic will not only provide ambition, but also reverberant quality that will offer Pellegrini useful versatility for his squad. Presuming the Chilean uses the 4-2-3-1 he utilised at Malaga and Villarreal, the Montenegrin can play right across the front four, equally at home on the left wing just as he is as a central striker where he has been used most often by Vincenzo Montella at Fiorentina.
Playing 29 times as a centre-forward last season, he scored 13 times and assisted 5. His close control, pace, sublime technique and muscular physique, reward of long hours in the gym, making him a force regardless of where he is positioned.
Jovetic is unlikely to be played as a central forward at City however, instead settling for a withdrawn position with Edin Dzeko and Alvaro Negredo competing alongside Sergio Aguero for the starting berth of main striker. Negredo, signed for £22 million from Sevilla, is a robust forward full of movement and full of goals, recording 102 from 209 games during his time in Spain.
Negredo was chosen by Vincent Del Bosque to be Spain’s support striker at last year’s European Championships, citing his hold-up play, his strong left-foot and ability in the air as reason to be picked ahead of Valencia’s prolific Roberto Soldado and Atletico Madrid’s Adrian Lopez.
Pellegrini will see Negredo thrive off the service provided by his enviable array of attacking midfield options in the likes of David Silva, Samir Nasri and now Jesus Navas, who supplied Negredo so brilliantly at Sevilla having played together for the last four years.
Negredo has spoken of how he was convinced by the winger to join him in Manchester, “I spoke with him this morning and I told him how happy I was to be playing another year” said the striker, eagerly anticipating another season of Navas’s creative talents, the 27 year old hitting 269 crosses last year, the most in La Liga. A striking duo of Dzeko and Negredo, both tall and strong in the air, will be extremely potent with the presence of the fast-paced and direct Navas on the wing.
It has so far been a more successful and ominous summer in terms of transfer targets for Manchester City than last year’s frustrating dealings which saw money spent on players who flattered to deceive. Pellegrini has seemingly invested in players who he can trust and those who he is sure can successfully adapt to the demands of the Premier League as they prepare intent on winning it back.
They may have missed out on Mario Gotze, but £97 million on four top class talents is sure to soften the blow.
Written by Adam Gray
Follow Adam on Twitter @AdamGray1250
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