WITH the 2015 summer transfer window closing hours ago, Callum Matthews reviews Manchester City’s transfer dealings…
This summer transfer window was always going to be crucial for Man City.
They simply had to get it right because after a poor attempt at defending their Premier League crown they needed to come back fighting this season.
With eight players in, including breaking their club transfer record twice, and over 20 players leaving the Etihad, it’s certainly been a busy summer.
The club have spent around £150m on bringing top class talent to the club as they look to challenge on all fronts this season.
Experienced pros have also left but on the whole City’s squad is significantly improved and should mount a serious challenge for trophies this season.
TIMELINE: An interactive look at City’s transfer dealings this summer…
What will the new signings bring to City?
Raheem Sterling- Yes he was expensive. But, no-one can doubt his potential or in fact his current quality.
He’s brought something new to City already and its reaping rewards. The part he played in the Aleksandar Kolarov goal at Everton was brilliant and it’s something that the Blues have been lacking for the last few seasons. Also don’t under estimate the role he played in the 3-0 win over Chelsea. Although he didn’t stand out, his ability to turn defence into attack was a crucial factor in the victory.
Samir Nasri and David Silva are both top class players in their own right. The latter is one of the best players in the league, if not the world but neither have that pace to get in behind teams.
The balance Pellegrini has found with Silva, Sterling, Jesus Navas and Sergio Aguero in the first few games is frightening. The guile of Silva and Aguero combined with the raw pace of Sterling and Navas is something teams are struggling to cope with.
The 20-year-old brings an extra dimension that Pellegrini’s men were lacking last season. They looked unbalanced with Navas and Nasri/Milner on the wings but now there’s symmetry to their play.
Everyone knows that in Kolarov and Gael Clichy, City don’t have the best left backs in the world and they’re there to be got at defensively. However the fact they now have Sterling infront of them means teams are reluctant to commit their right-back too far forward because of his ability to get in behind sides. Not to mention it means Silva can play in his best position just off the striker.
It’s hard to tell whether Sterling will represent value for money in the long term, however the early signs suggest he’s worth every penny.
Fabian Delph- Energy. It’s quite simple, the former Villa captain brings a bundle of energy to the City squad.
We all know Yaya Toure tires and doesn’t track back at times, after all Gary Neville has reminded us enough times!
Fernando is potentially, after Didi Hamann, the least agile midfielder I’ve seen at City so Delph’s hard work and tenacity is going to be key in certain games. I expect although he’s probably not Champions League quality, that he’ll play a big part in this season’s campaign for that reason.
In previous campaigns the Blues’ have got overrun in midfield in Europe but I think with Delph and Fernandinho alongside Toure it would happen a lot less.
It was one of the strangest transfers ever, with a deal on, then off and then back on again (although the grumblings of a failed medical won’t go away at the Etihad just yet), but I do think the 25-year-old will prove to be a shrewd acquisition.
At £8m that’s barely anything in today’s market, particularly for a full England international, and you only have to look at the key role ‘lesser’ quality players such as Gareth Barry have made in previous title winning campaigns to see how crucial Delph could become.
Nicolas Otamendi- The Argentine defender became City’s third big name signing of the summer for £28.5m from Valencia and will provide a serious challenge for the left centre back role.
Fans, pundits and it seems the club are still unconvinced about last summer’s recruit Eliqium Mangala (although four clean sheets to start the season will have allayed fears slightly) and Otamendi will provide a serious challenge to the Frenchman.
Known for his tough tackling and pace, the 27-year-old should be a shrewd acquisition. Apparently he was on Real Madrid’s wish list if Sergio Ramos left the club and you don’t get on their shortlist if you’re not a good player!
He’s prone to a booking and the odd sending off, which does worry me, especially with how picky English referees can be at times. However having come from the Spanish league where a little tap brings a booking, the slightly more physical English game should suit him.
He chipped in with six league goals last season and they’d be a welcome addition to a City squad that struggles for goals from the back.
At the fee City paid, it’s a risk, he’ll be under constant scrutiny (if his work permit ever gets sorted!) but him and Kompany could prove to the partnership that sees City dominate England and progress further in Europe.
Kevin De Bruyne- City fans finally got their present!
After fighting all summer with Klaus Aloff at Wolfsburg, he eventually caved and agreed to sell the Belgian to City.
The fee does seem slightly absurd seeming he’s already struggled in England previously at Chelsea. However in his time away from
England the 24-year-old has matured as a player and after registering the most assists in any of Europe’s top divisions last season you can see why City were so keen to bring him to the club.
Assists should be guaranteed, but with 16 goals in 51 appearances last season De Bruyne should bring an extra goal edge to the Blues.
Navas, who I expect De Bruyne to replace, doesn’t score that many goals so De Bruyne’s addition is a massive improvement on the Spaniard.
He’s going to have to fight with Silva for the number 10 role that both players prefer.
However I think the main improvement in the three behind Aguero this season is their flexibility. Sterling, Silva and De Bruyne can all play in any of the three roles and I expect them to be extremely fluid, not just from game to game but also within games.
It’s a bold statement but I think the Belgian may prove to be the signing of the summer. The thought of him alongside Silva and Sterling and Aguero is mesmerising. God damn you international break!
Enes Unal- Obviously he’s one for the future as proven by the fact he’s gone on a two-year loan.
He’s scored goals at every single level of junior football, both domestically and internationally (including scoring in the U21’s at just 16) and has already made his full Turkey debut at the tender age of 17.
He looked a bit off the pace in pre-season; however that could be nerves, or naturally just being behind the first team members that had been on the whole trip.
It’s almost impossible to say whether he’ll be a success at City, but at the reported fee of £2m he’s well worth a punt.
Patrick Roberts- The 18-year-old is highly regarded as one of the most promising talents in England.
Having made his Premier League debut, against City, at 17, he was described by then Fulham manager Felix Magath as ‘an extraordinary talent’- no pressure kid!
I doubt he’ll feature in the Premier League much this season, especially with the riches City have going forward, but I imagine he’ll make a few cup appearances and spend the majority of the season in the EDS or potentially on loan at a Championship side.
City have to be careful with Roberts, he has the potential to be a top player, but they need to nurture him right and make sure his progress doesn’t became stagnated by sitting at the Etihad kicking his heels.
Aleix Garcia- Another player signed with the future in mind.
The winger’s only 18 and will again be spending the majority of the season in the EDS, however he is expected to train with the first team on occasions to continue his development.
Signed from Pellegrini’s old club Villarreal he’s represented Spain at U18 level and made his La Liga debut last season.
Similarly to Unal, for the fee we’ve paid, it’s worth the risk. Even if the move doesn’t come off, City would be likely to make a profit on the Spaniard and in the FFP days that’s significant.
David Faupala- Again another player signed for the future.
Described by City as ‘one of France’s hottest talents’, he’s represented his country at U16 level through to U18 level.
Apparently he’s good in the air and possesses a powerful shot, he netted in his first game in a friendly in Spain.
Again it may work, it may not.
Have City had a successful window?
I think in short, the answer is yes.
Somehow it got out that the club’s main three targets were Sterling, De Bruyne and Paul Pogba this summer. Let’s make it four with Otamendi. To sign three out of the four is a huge bonus to the club.
We may not have got Pogba, but nobody else signed him either, and that suggests City weren’t at fault for failing to secure his signature.
Director of football Txiki Begiristain has been criticised numerous times by fans, including myself, but it’s hard to argue that he’s delivered the goods this summer.
He’s got the players the club and Pellegrini wanted and it’s already reaping rewards on the pitch.
There’s a theme throughout City’s signings this summer. We’ve signed four teenagers for the future. But all of the four big name signings at 20, 24, 25 and 27 have signed five and six-year deals at club meaning they should all spend their best years at the Etihad.
You can’t complain with the incomings side of the business at all. A left-back was muted but now Kolarov has got an extended run of games he looks more than capable.
The departures are slightly disappointing. Not really with who has left the club because the right players have been sold. It’s more the nature of the deals that are poor.
Allowing Edin Dzeko and Stevan Jovetic to leave on loans with numerous clauses in is a bit poor and does make me wonder how good Begiristain actually is at negotiating.
However to get almost £8m for Marcos Lopes who’s only played a handful of games was good business.
The fact the club also had a day off on deadline day, whilst other clubs chased that last minute deal, shows how professional the club have been in their dealings this summer. They had to be patient to get Sterling and De Bruyne, but they signed both and should be applauded for that.
Overall it’s been the window that City needed. However last time we didn’t win the league we strengthened the following summer and won it back. It is next summer that could be the true test to see if City have learnt their lesson.
By: Callum Matthews