With the Isco transfer saga still fresh in many a disappointed City fan’s mind (alleviated slightly by a lively performance for Spain by Jesus Navas last week), the latest batch of transfer gossip in the national newspapers has caused wailing and gnashing of teeth aplenty by a minority of fans who expect us to be hovering up the world’s best talent from this point onwards.
It’s understandable – after all, the capture of Fred or Negredo might actually benefit Manchester City greatly in the future, but the signings wouldn’t stir the loins like a Cavani/Falcao unveiling. However, it’s rather arrogant to dismiss a striker available for £1.7m who will probably lead the favourites for next year’s World Cup.
Certainly City have a good amount of money to splash, even within Financial Fair play restrictions. It is thought the City will save £30m a year now that certain high-earners such as Kolo Toure, Carlos Tevez and Wayne Bridge are off the wage bill. Future signings won’t be earning these levels of money, with wage structures linked to incentivised bonuses. Quite simply, win stuff and they’ll earn more. Apart from the inflated fee Napoli are asking for Edison Cavani, the rumours of him wanting massive wages would alone kill any possible deal with City. They are not going to be paying any player £250,000 a week, however long the media and certain rival fans continue to portray the club as “moneybags City” who flash the cash around. Expect Chelsea to comfortably outspend City this summer, without a word of criticism.
The important thing to consider with Isco is that he was not a vital purchase when looking at how to strengthen the squad this summer. Without the appointment of Pellegrini, City probably wouldn’t have even tried to sign him, but once it was clear that the Chilean was to take over from Roberto Mancini, then it is likely that his close relationship with the player was used to try and snatch him from Real Madrid’s grasp. And for a while, it seemed like this approach would work. Now that it hasn’t, there is no desperate need to sign a similar type of player. City have signed two good midfielders this summer, and as of yet not sold any.
What is needed now of course is a striker. Add to that a left-back, a centre-back and quite possibly competition for Joe Hart, and that is where attention will probably focus over the next two months. Pellegrini has often played with a single striker, so it’s a bit early to be jumping off cliffs at the lack of striking options City possess right now, but the club will want to tie up deals as soon as possible.
Having said all that, I wouldn’t dismiss just yet the scenario of City signing Edison Cavani, but Chelsea must surely be favourites at the moment.
In the long-term, the hope is that the news academy will bring players through to the first-team, though that point may be some time away. There is also the aspiration that a group of top-class English players will be included in this group, and looking at this summer’s U21 & U20 tournaments, where England were quite simply abysmal, this could be the toughest task of all. Let’s hope that the state-of-the-art academy can teach some of our youngsters the technical side of the game over physicality and old-fashioned notions of getting it into the mixer and substituting skill with effort and passion. A bit of everything would be perfect, but if English players are going to succeed in the future, then they have to be technically efficient and totally comfortable on the ball.
In the meantime. City are not going to be hunting down galacticos signings. Pellegrini is renowned for getting the most out of players, and that is where success will come – maximising what the club already has. With a couple of additions, there is little need for further strengthening, and then it is down to the players to justify their wages, and for the manager to mould a team that suits his philosophy. There is plenty to look forward to.
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