Manchester City made a flying start ahead of this transfer window, addressing two key gaps in their squad almost immediately. However, things have slowed down since the window opened, and clubs are now digging in their heels. I’ll be reviewing City’s transfer activity to date in this article.
Transfer activity so far
City’s first signing of the summer was Bernardo Silva, a young Portuguese attacking midfielder from Monaco. Silva demonstrated his immense talents over two Champions League legs against City last season. £43 million for a talented 22 year old seems like good business. French football enthusiast Eric described Silva, on the recent podcast, as “instantly [City’s] best attacker”, which makes £43m a bargain. For the pessimists, we can be confident that he is a decent replacement for the departing Spaniards, Navas and Nolito.
The Blues then addressed a huge area of concern by signing a goalkeeper, Ederson, from Benfica. The Brazilian shot stopper is comfortable on the ball and his save percentage stats were in the 70 – 80% range. This means he should be a huge upgrade on Bravo, but he’ll need time to settle into a new league. Willy Caballero was the man to make way, understandably preferring Chelsea’s bench to the Colin Bell second tier.
With last season’s main issue addressed, City fans instantly moved on to the second and longest standing issue – the full backs. My first ever City forum thread was about left backs, as these players tend to be on the shortest leash for whatever reason. City have made one big move to fill this hole, signing Kyle Walker for a cool £50 million, immediately strengthening themselves and weakening a rival.
More transfers to come?
As usual, City have been linked with everyone even remotely available, at astronomical fees. A world record move for left-back Benjamin Mendy is reportedly imminent, and it is even more necessary now that Aleks Kolarov is heading to Rome. Versatile full back Danilo is also apparently on the verge of a move from Real Madrid. There have also been persistent rumours about Alexis Sanchez. Wenger, as ever, is adamant that the Chilean will see out his contract until next summer.
Kylian Mbappe is an intriguing target but there is some doubt surrounding his future. Yesterday, Monaco reported several ‘top clubs’ in Europe for tapping him up. Our neighbours would love to mock us for this, but are loathe to officially recognize us as a “massive club”. There were some whispers about Ryan Bertrand too, but it does not appear that he was a priority transfer target.
What’s the media perception of City’s transfers?
Craig Burley seemed as clueless as ever on commentary last night, but there was a moment where he almost redeemed himself. He described transfer fees as now being largely irrelevant in the English game as they have gone mad. Unfortunately, he made this comment in reference to Kyle Walker, despite the opposition having two players that cost almost 100 million each.
It’s no secret that I think my club gets unfair treatment from much of the mainstream media, and they are operating on three levels this summer. The first is the constant complaining and over-inflation about any spending from the Blues. Transfer fees are routinely reported with wages thrown in and the game is only ever going to the dogs when it’s City spending record fees. Then follows the campaign to undermine any club success and ridicule any failures in light of what was spent.
Three levels of City transfers – crazy spending, poor signings, snubs aplenty
The second level involves tarnishing the reputation of those who join City, especially those from rival English clubs. Bernardo Silva and Ederson are outstanding young talents, secured for reasonable transfer fees. However, the media have been happy to let them go under the radar and three games in the talk will start about how much they have to prove.
Walker was the PFA right-back of the year last season, and won Young Player of the Year the same season that Sergio, eligible for the award, won the league. Now though, he’s a money grabbing journeyman whose place in the Spurs team was under severe threat from once-Blue Kieran Trippier. Sanchez is another, having gone from being a one man team to a greedy mercenary now that there is a chance that he leaves. This is nothing new, either – we all know what Sterling, Stones and de Bruyne had to put up with when signing.
Finally, we have to read about how useless City are in the transfer market, whether signing, selling or retaining players. When Dani Alves did a u-turn in his private plane to join PSG it was a huge shock to the club. That said, the decision not to pay him silly money was reasonable, especially as the alternate right back. Still, ‘City target joins PSG, lol’ was the general attitude of the media. When City flipped fringe youngsters Unal, Mooy and Ntcham for tidy profits, this was just the mean old Blues not giving youth a chance.
And to top it all off we are led to believe that the most prolific striker in Premier League history will be sold. Not only that, but Agüero is going to join Chelsea for only £60 million! This is the same fee that Chelsea received for squad player Oscar from Chinese club, Shanghai SIPG,and yet it’s City who have ruined the market. Usually crap on this level is reserved exclusively for the eve of a Manchester derby.
What have we learnt so far from preseason
And so, to the Manchester derby. Preseason friendlies rarely give us too much insight into what will happen during the season, but there were a couple of hints. The first, and biggest, was that Phil Foden is a potential superstar who has impressed his manager. It’s tough to follow the kids closely when overseas, and my eyes rolled a little when reading comparisons to David Silva. However, if you’d shaved his head last night he could have passed for Merlin on my stream.
One other thing that stood out to me is that Samir Nasri has still got it. His passing range is phenomenal and he retains the ball like no other member of the squad. His exit is still quite likely, but I was calling for him to get a chance last summer and I’m hoping for the same again this summer.
Finally, a couple of minor negatives. Sterling is largely ineffective on the left, especially when he picks it up midway into the opposition half. It’s unnatural for him and it slows us down as a result. If we’re going to use him there occasionally, we need to change the tactics to get him in behind.
Also, I was delighted that Tosin Adarabioyo signed a new contract this summer. He has all of the tools needed to succeed, but boy does he need game time. His lack of experience at the highest level means that he is not yet a realistic option as cover.
I’ll breaking down the back and the front of the squad over the next two weeks, leading into the season preview. City are back, City are back, hello, hello!
Image from ESPN FC