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Grading Manchester City’s Transfer Activity

Joe Walsh

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Despite lifting the Premier League trophy last season, Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini had clear intentions to strengthen his squad in key areas in the summer transfer window. More than anything the Chilean looked to add depth to his squad in order to compete in Europe as well as domestically as City look to establish themselves as one of the top clubs in world football.

Bacary Sagna – Free

City wasted no time in convincing Sagna to swap the red of Arsenal for sky blue, making him their first transfer of the summer and giving the Frenchman a 3-year deal. The right-back needs no introducing to Premier League followers and has established himself as one of the most consistent full backs in the league during his 7 years with the Gunners. The logic behind this move is simple, City now possess two of the league’s top right backs which allows Pelligrini the flexibility to switch between Sagna and Pablo Zabaleta which will keep both fresh. It will be interesting to see if Pellegrini can keep the 31-year old happy as he is likely to play second fiddle to Zabaleta but there is no doubt this is a quality addition to the City team and provides real strength in depth.

Grade: B

Willy Caballero – £6 million

City’s second transfer of the summer saw goalkeeper Willy Cabellero reunite Pellegrini who had managed him previously at Malaga. In many ways Caballero is a similar signing to that of Sagna; he is a proven performer at the highest level who Pellegrini knows he can rely upon. Cabellero will provide current City number one Joe Hart with stern competition for a place in the starting XI. Pellegrini has again provided himself with two top quality players in one position, which will give him a very pleasant selection dilemma. This signing should push both goalkeepers to perform at their absolute best and is another indication City are ready to compete in the Champions League.

Grade: B

Fernando – £12 million

After failing to bring the 27-year old Brazilian to the club in January, Pellegrini made sure the defensive midfielder would be lining up for City come the start of the season. Fernando, who joins from FC Porto is undoubtedly an important piece in Manchester City’s star-studded jigsaw. In this transfer Pellegrini has got himself an unselfish player who is willing to do the dirty work, much like his compatriot Fernandinho. This transfer also highlights the flexibility that Pellegrini is clearly aiming for this season. Fernando could be used as a straight replacement for Fernandinho and play alongside Toure in a midfield two, or he could be deployed alongside both midfielders in a central three. For tough European games Pellegrini may well look to start the trio together which will certainly provide serious power in the midfield, it will also allow Toure to play further forward, something many City fans would like to see.

Grade: A

Eliaquim Mangala – £32 million

Perhaps the most obvious position Manchester City needed to improve in the summer transfer window was central defence, so it comes as no surprise that centre back Mangala was considerably their most expensive signing of the summer. The 23-year old has been promising for sometime and had been linked with big clubs all across Europe. Mangala may have to bide his time to overtake Martin Demichelis but there is no doubt Pellegrini will have plans to ease the Frenchman in alongside Vincent Kompany eventually. Despite his youth, Mangala has great experience across Europe with 135 appearances in spells with Porto and Standard Liege. Mangala possesses great power and speed, and has all the attributes to develop into a top defender if City can maintain his rapid progression. However, £32 million is on the expensive side for a defender who has rarely played against Europe’s best strikers, so the transfer is certainly not without risk.

Grade: B

Frank Lampard – loan

A strange one for Manchester City who may have looked at the former Chelsea man as an opportunity to add some experience to the side as well as filling the home-grown players quota. Lampard can still hold his own at the top level but will surely be used sparingly by the Blues until his loan runs out in January. The problem with this loan is that City will have to sign a replacement player in January, which will leave the new man with much less time to settle in during an important part of the season. Pellegrini does however, seem to have had the dressing room in mind when making this deal, Lamps could prove an invaluable member behind the scenes.

Grade: C

Overall

This summer Manuel Pellegrini has quietly gone about his business and has brought in 4 players who will undoubtedly strengthen the squad. Each player signed is better than the equivalent outgoing player in their position, which represents clear progress for a Manchester City side looking to take the next step to become a superpower in 2014/15. City did not need a superstar but supporters may be disappointed a few more quality additions weren’t made, particularly following the deadline day loss of Alvaro Negredo. It will remain to be seen if a rather more cautious approach pays off for the Citizens but my initial impressions are that they are one or two men short, particularly up front, of where they need to be.

Grade: B

Genetics student at the University of Liverpool, Blackpool fan and co-editor of the site. Joe's main interests are at all levels of the English game. Twitter: @JoeWalsh17

Everton

Everton fans react as Hirving Lozano puts Germany to the sword

The Mexican winger scored the winning goal and is being linked with Everton.

Mathew Nash

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Photo: Getty Images

Mexico have caused a World Cup shock by defeating Germany 1-0 in Russia. The player who scored the goal was Hirving Lozano, one of the players tipped by The Boot Room as one to watch at the World Cup.

The PSV Eindhoven winger put in a fine performance as Mexico put Germany to the sword. Throughout the game he left Germany’s excellent right-back, Joshua Kimmich, chasing shadows and his goal was a demonstration in poise.

Few fans should be surprised. ‘Chucky‘, as he is known, was incredible for PSV last season. He scored 19 goals and provided 11 assists for the Dutch side last season.

One team’s fans who were watching with interest were those at Everton.

Lozano has been heavily linked with a move to Goodison Park in recent weeks. He is a firm favourite of new Everton director of football Marcel Brands, who signed him at PSV.

(Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

So his performance against Germany certainly impressed fans at Everton.

However, there was also a concern after the result.

Because now Everton fans are of the belief other teams will be coming in with better offers and the chance to play in the Champions League.

There was plenty of negative thinking from Everton’s fans, who are now afraid the talented attacker might head elsewhere.  

But with Brands’ influence, Farhad Moshiri’s funding and a strong link with his agent Mino Raiola Everton must keep the faith and hope that they can win the race for Lozano this summer.

Here is some of the reaction to his match-winning performance against Germany…    

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Tottenham Hotspur

Matias Vecino is not the man to replace Mousa Dembele for Tottenham Hotspur

Tottenham Hotspur may need a replacement for Mousa Dembele this summer.

Mathew Nash

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Tottenham Hotspur are now being linked with a move for Inter Milan midfielder Matias Vecino. Tuttosport are reporting that Spurs, along with Everton, are keen on the Uruguayan – who has been told he can leave the San Siro this summer.

The fee involved would reportedly be in the region of £26.3 million for the player. The obvious link here is also the interest in Mousa Dembele from Inter. The Belgian is high on the Italian side’s wishlist, as his contract situation at Tottenham turns rotten.

But Spurs should steer clear of any deal for the Uruguay midfielder this summer.

Undoubtedly, he is a very good player. The 26-year-old is neat and tidy in midfield with an excellent passing ratio.

(Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

But, as anyone who saw the recent Uruguay v Egypt game will testify, his passing range is hardly expansive.

Vecino prefers a sideways or backward pass, rather than trying to probe the opposing defence. It is for that reason that Tottenham should simply steer clear.

If Spurs are going to replace Dembele this summer they need to do so with a player who has the ability to be better than the Belgian. Vecino, simply put, does not even come close.

The impact of losing Dembele will be keenly felt at Spurs if the experienced midfielder goes and ensuring a top replacement is brought in is imperative for future success in North London.

Vecino is not the man for the job at Tottenham Hotspur and he would simply not last the course if he made the move this summer.

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West Bromwich Albion

Should West Brom have given Ali Gabr a chance at £1.1 million?

West Brom did not hand the 29-year-old a chance during his recent loan spell.

Mathew Nash

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When Egypt took on Uruguay in the World Cup recently it was a game West Brom fans watched with interest. The player they were keeping eyes on was Egypt centre-back Ahmed Hegazi. He is of course still a West Brom player, although has been linked with an exit after the club’s relegation. But alongside him in the heart of the Egypt defence was another player who should interest West Brom, Ali Gabr.

The 29-year-old was signed on loan in January to add strength to the West Brom defence. However, with the Baggies struggling to survive he was not given a chance in the first-team.

Gabr instead played just two games for the club’s under-23s. His first appearance was in a 2-0 defeat against Norwich City before he was given the runaround by Swedish striker Viktor Gyorkes in a 5-1 loss against Brighton.

West Brom will not be keeping him, based on his performances at the club.

(during the Premier League match between Manchester City and West Bromwich Albion at Etihad Stadium on January 31, 2018 in Manchester, England.

The Express and Star reported this month that a £1.1 million option to sign him permanently had passed and he would be returning to Egypt.

But his performance against Uruguay suggested he deserved better. Gabr looked strong and solid defensively and was also impressive with the ball at his feet.

It certainly looked like the form of a player who could be effective in the Championship, especially with Jonny Evans leaving and Craig Dawson and Hegazi wanted.

West Brom cannot be blamed for deciding not to throw Gabr in last season and, it is hard to suggest he might have helped them stay in the Premier League. But based on his performance against Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez last week he might have been able to help them return.

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