Five Players Man City could sign to Sheikh up the Premier League
Manchester City have recently been subject to a hefty £50m fine from UEFA for breaching the regulations set out to reduce ‘financial doping’. The European committee have looked to make a statement of intent that breaking the laws will land a heavy punishment, but even so, you cannot imagine the The Citizens will be frugal this summer. While the fringe players on their roster will not be easy to shift due to their massive wages, they will not be without suitors. It is vital that some funds are brought into the club in order to balance the books, allowing them to recruit their targets without fear of further sanction. It must be said that it will be extremely difficult to get in all of the following 5 players this summer, but they are major targets nonetheless.
Eliaquim Mangala: The towering French centre half from F.C. Porto was rumoured to be close to a switch to the Etihad in January, but the deal could not be finalised in the short time left available to them. It seems highly likely that Man City will return in July, with defensive frailties still not ironed out. He is also still young and so under the guidance of club captain Vincent Kompany, he could well develop even further into the complete centre half. The pair could provide the perfect balance of poise and power, leading to a fearsome partnership at the back. While still prone to the odd mistake, this is only expected of one still learning the game, and he may well become more consistent as the season wears on. All in all, a very realistic signing in a position Man City should look to strengthen.
Approximate valuation: £27 million.
Fernando: Fernando is Mangala’s club mate at F.C. Porto and is another who was strongly rumoured with Manchester City in the latter stages of the January window. It is not unreasonable to think that the two could be signed as a pair with the Premier League club paying a combined fee. The Brazilian holding midfielder is a combative player that provides natural aggression and legs to any side in the middle of the park. Despite Fernandinho’s impressive debut season in the Premier League, eventual successors should not be ignored. Both he and Yaya Touré have passed 30 years old, and their experience could prove vital in developing Fernandinho’s compatriot. For Pellegrini to be able to choose 2 from those 3 in central midfield would be a fantastic selection dilemma every week. Fernando in particular is very defensively disciplined, and this is a crucial trait for the current City team. He would allow the full backs to bomb forward almost at will, as they know he would be ready to carry out a covering job. You can certainly see the benefits of making this signing, and to acquire both of the Porto pair would be quite a coup.
Approximate valuation: £15 million.
Bacary Sagna: The Arsenal right-back is out of contract this summer, and negotiations for a renewal have stalled. Sagna has been so consistent all season long, not only being solid defensively but providing excellent attacking impetus. With Arsenal’s policy of not offering contracts longer than 1 year to players over 30, Sagna does not feel that his future is at The Emirates. Manchester City can certainly strengthen in defence and, while Zabaleta is a fantastic servant for the club, he too is not getting any younger. Pellegrini does not seem to have a great deal of confidence in England’s Micah Richards, and so perhaps a swap deal may be in order. City could use this as an opportunity to obtain funds for other deals as it is likely that Richards would be sold for a value nearing £10 million. Along with the Frenchman’s desirable on-field traits, this is another reason that he provides an entirely realistic option.
Approximate valuation: FREE
Hugo Lloris: Spurs’ acrobatic goalkeeper has been on the wrong end of a fair few drubbings this season, such as 6-0 away to Man City and 5-0 at home to Liverpool. Despite this, he has not taken much of the blame, instead receiving praise for his speed across the ground and reaction saves. The current undisputed number one at the Etihad is Joe Hart, having regained his berth after a period on the side-lines following some questionable performances. A much revered save against Everton recently helped his side secure a vital 3 points in their push for the title, so despite the rumours, I feel it is not particularly wise to look to replace him. Especially if you consider the great expense that would apparently be required. With Tottenham and Daniel Levy again standing their ground over a star player, it has been reported that Man City would need to part with a significant sum of cash as part of a swap deal to acquire their man. This is possibly pushing towards £30 million in addition to Joe Hart moving in the other direction. I believe City’s owners would be foolish to part with such a significant amount of money for a position they are already strong in. Rumours do persist however.
Approximate valuation: £30 million plus Joe Hart
Paul Pogba: Ex-Manchester United academy graduate and dubbed as ‘not good enough’ by Sir Alex, Paul Pogba could return to Manchester and cause United to regret their decision to sell. The Frenchman has grown exponentially as a player during his time away from Old Trafford, becoming a midfield powerhouse with terrific poise in tandem. He is the archetypal box-to-box midfielder who can do everything well, and is seriously considered as the next in line to Yaya Touré’s throne in this regard. His youth and the high esteem that current club Juventus hold him in may result in him being the most expensive of the 5 possible transfers discussed here. Yet, as we have seen in Man City’s march to the title 2 years ago and their probable glory in this season, a central midfielder can be absolutely crucial. Not that the blue half of Manchester need to send out signals of intent, but if they could attract Pogba to the Etihad, it could really make the rest of the league sit up and take notice. Finding a legal way to rustle up the funds within financial fair play, or using loop-holes, if they can make the deal happen, they should absolutely go for it. The noisy neighbours would see it representing a final nail in Manchester United’s coffin for one of their own to come back to haunt them. Were Yaya Touré to take him under his wing, then what a player we could have on our hands to watch week after week in England.
Approximate value: £45 million