Manchester City had a dream season in the Premier League last time out, breaking almost every, if not truly every major record that existed prior to the season’s culmination. Guardiola’s men racked up a stupefying 100 points, and they did it in the most City-esque way possible, with Gabriel Jesus trudging the Citizens over the line with the final kick of the season.
This season, the hunters are set to become the hunted. Not only do City have to maintain their standards this season, they also must go further in the Champions League than they have under the past 2 seasons. They have touched upon greatness, but to set that greatness in stone, it is absolutely imperative that they not only replicate their success on a consistent basis but also achieve more of it, by virtue of CL success.
So how do they go about achieving that success?
It is correctly said, that if you’re in a lane as fast as the Premier League, and you aren’t moving ahead, then you’re essentially moving back. The Citizens must be careful to identify their targets early and persuade them to move quickly. As we know, a good outing at the grandest stage of them all can turn heads and attract suitors in a jiffy. Just ask Guillermo Ochoa.
Riyad Mahrez and Jorginho of Leicester City and Napoli respectively have been identified as key targets, and rumours are rife about existing bids on the table. Another name that’s been thrown into the mix is of Valencia’s right back, Joao Cancelo. The addition of Emre Can would have be an excellent one for the Citizens, adding further strength to an already solid midfield, however, this looks unlikely, with the German agreeing a move to Juventus. These 2-3 additions must be made on a priority basis, as City look to sustain competing for all 4 trophies.
A further addition of a versatile player, someone who would be capable of both, leading the line as well as playing out wide, would be the icing on the cake for the Sky Blue’s transfer window; Someone like Leon Bailey would tick all the boxes in that respect. Griezmann too would be an exceptional signing, but the attraction of Barcelona would prove to be too good to turn down in favour of Man City. Kylian Mbappe might be a forced sale for PSG with their FFP troubles, but it is unlikely they would see eye to eye with City on the valuation, if at all the youngster would be forced out after a single season with the Parisians.
As for departures, it is unlikely to see any first team player being shown the door, and more unlikely still for someone to be poached by one of Europe’s elites, after the stellar season that just elapsed. However, departures may be seen if City opt to offer players in part exchange to secure some of their targets, with Maffeo, Zinchenko and Patrick Roberts on the fringe of being shown the door.
This season, one thing that stood out for the Citizens en route to their smashing season was the fact there were no training ground disputes or player-manager standoffs. It was the cohesion, the chemistry, and the lack of clash of egos that propelled Man City throughout the season. This season too, with the addition of more quality, Guardiola will be utterly spoilt for choice with the players at his disposal. It is imperative yet again for him to find the perfect balance to keep all his players happy, and the team gelling as one.
Written by Ayush Verma.