If there is one thing that you can be sure of in the constantly changing and often surprising world of professional spending, it is that Manchester City will lead the way when it comes to summer transfer spending.
Following Leicester’s title winning season and the arrival of Pep Guardiola, City already had an estimated squad value of £411 million, according to Sporting Index. Having spent in excess of £130 million during the next two windows, they have increased this significantly, while also underlining their reputation for constantly seeking the best and most exciting international talent.
Within a month or so of the close season, the Citizens have already spent £77.9 million on Monaco’s playmaker Bernardo Silva (£43 million) and the young Benfica goalkeeper Ederson (£34.9 million). The question that remains is, who else are they likely to target before the summer window is out?
The case for the defence
One deal that looks likely to be completed is Kyle Walker’s switch from Tottenham Hotspur, as reported by the Mirror, with all parties apparently keen to find a positive resolution. The right-back is certainly keen on a move, while the proposed transfer fee of £60 million seems to offer an incentive to both sides. This position is certainly a major priority for the Citizens, who have released both Pablo Zabaleta and Bacary Sanga since the end of last season.
Left-back is another problem area for the Blues, with a second Monaco player having being targeted in the form of Bernard Mendy, as per Sky Sports. This deal may be complicated by an injury sustained during France’s recent friendly win against England in Paris, although it is unlikely to be serious enough to deter Guardiola’s advances.
These signings would certainly afford City greater pace and dynamism in wide areas, something that was sorely lacking last season and remains key to Guardiola’s philosophy. Walker and Mendy would also flank a potential centre-back pairing of John Stones and Vincent Kompany, affording the Citizens an athletic defence that boasts pace, power and no little attacking threat.
The middle ground
The £43 million signing of Bernardo Silva certainly raised some eyebrows among pundits, particularly given the Blues’ plethora of creative midfielders (including his namesake, David). He has clearly been signed with one eye on the future. However, his added pace and energy will provide City with a little more thrust in the final third.
Elsewhere, there will be a clear focus on defensive midfielder, with an ageing Yaya Toure and the out-of-favour Brazilian, Fernando, providing little genuine cover for Fernandinho. Guardiola has been linked with another Monaco player in the form of the versatile Fabinho, who can operate comfortably either as a right back or a holding midfielder. However, Manchester United, are reported, by The Sun, to be leading the chase, meaning that any potential deal may already be dead in the water.
Ultimately, Guardiola’s desire to retain possession and dominate the ball during games means that Belgian playmaker Kevin de Bruyne is most likely to be deployed in a central midfield role this season, with Fernandinho and the returning Ilkay Gundogan being rotated as his partner. Guardiola may be keen to add one more, but currently remains coy on who this may be.
Undoubtedly the biggest news to break this summer has been City’s increased dogged pursuit of Arsenal’s talisman Alexis Sanchez, as the Manchester Evening News have continued to report. The Chilean forward, who briefly played under Guardiola at Barcelona, plundered 30 goals and added 13 assists for the Gunners in all competitions last year and would represent a major coup for ambitious City.
While Sanchez is thought to be keen on the move, Arsenal are clearly reluctant to sell their star asset to a domestic rival. They have been forced to do this in the past with players such as Robin Van Persie and Samir Nasri, however, while a potentially huge fee could be tempting for a club without Champions League football next season.
Make no mistake; the Chilean would represent a catalyst for a new-look City team, operating in a fluid attacking formation with Leroy Sane, Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus (and Sergio Aguero, on occasions). He would also afford them additional options as a wide forward, a number 10 or a central striker, while his tenacity and work-ethic is tailor-made for Guardiola’s intense pressing style.
How will City’s signings fare this season?
While City have already been busy during the close season and look set to add at least three more players to their outstanding squad, the signing of Sanchez would turn a positive summer into a great one. After all, the Chilean is one of those rare players that can transform a side, providing City with a talisman who brings energy, goals and tactical flexibility.
The only question that will remain surrounds City’s potential defence, with a relatively unproven, if talented, custodian in goal and new full-backs to bed in. Not only this, but much will rely on the fitness of captain Vincent Kompany, whose experience, stature and leadership qualities were sorely missed for much of last season and could provide the ideal foil for John Stones.
Regardless, City will spend a great deal more this summer and are likely to build a squad that is capable of challenging for honours. Not only this, but next season will also see a team created in Guardiola’s image, defined by intensity, energy and high-tempo attacking.
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