The transfer windows closed yesterday in England and Manchester City bought 1 player I consider is for the first team. Philippe Sandler is the name… I am kidding, we broke our transfer record with the £60m signing of Algerian Riyad Mahrez from Leicester City.
A decent player, not my favorite, but I think he will contribute as he has done for Leicester, I just do not think he is the answer to our Champions League hopes. Sterling and Sane did look a bit knackered by the end of last season and that is where Mahrez comes into the picture. He can be part of that rotation and Bernardo Silva can start playing more centrally, considering that was what he was bought in for in the first place.
I would personally have prefered a left winger (we have 3 RW’s and 1 LW now, which might mean that one of the RW’s will play more on the left), who could also play as a striker if we needed that. I would love to see what Pep could do with a player like Martial, I think they would be a great match.
Truth be told, we did not need a lot after a close to flawless season, with record after record being broken. BUT, we did not sign the player we “really” needed – A DM. Yaya is now gone and did not feature a lot last season thanks to Fernandinho’s high level of 3500+ minutes playing time. Quite remarkable for a 32 year old in such a vital position, where the demands are crazy in a Pep system.
So why did we need a DM you might ask, Fernandinho is still here, what is the problem?
Fernandinho is now 33 years old and as I mentioned, has played 3500+ minutes, PLUS the World Cup (less rest). Zabaleta got ruined by a similar season and he was younger.
I do not think that Fernandinho will have the same high level of consistency again, simply because I do not think he is capable. Legs could be gone, injuries creeping up etc. I will re-visit this prediction in January and by the end of the season, to see if I was right or wrong. Only time will tell.
I do not think we have other players capable to play that position – or do I? I am actually writing my next article where I will reveal my prefered DM option in the current squad, assuming Fernandinho gets injured / is not what he was last season.
Why Did We Not Sign A DM?
We have been linked with Fred in January, Jorginho throughout the summer until Chelsea came in and took him, so clearly Pep knew that we needed a new DM. I am still trying to figure out why we did not sign anyone, I have narrowed it down to these scenarios and added counter points to each scenario:
1. Pep does not think that there were other players on the market that could improve us
I personally can not see this being the case. Kovacic, Thiago, N’Zonzi just to name a few realistic targets, in different price ranges, we could have signed that would improve us. And why have scouts if we can not use them for the first team? Surely some of our scouts has eyes on someone they think could have their breakout season this season?
2. We do not have the money
Think about how much we earned last season and how little our net spend is this summer – roughly £30m, and possibly lower since the transfermarket is still open in other leagues. We had +£40m ready to go towards Jorginho, so that is just not true.
3. Pep is tired of being called “a cheque book manager”
No, I am not talking about the kids on twitter. He gets asked about his spending quite frequently in his press conferences, he does seem to hate questions about it. Maybe he does not think he gets enough credit for what he has done, because of the “big spending”.
4. Maybe Pep’s word is not as strong as people think
I think this is the most power Pep has ever had a club, but it is not him who runs it. Does Khaldoon Al Mubarak set some demands to use the academy more? Does Ferran Soriano get a bonus if City earns X amount of money? How involved is Pep really in the deals other than giving a list of names a phone call here and there?
5. Too late to find an alternative after the Jorginho fiasco
Could be a possibility considering it is Txiki Begiristain we are talking about ( 😉 ). But then again, pay the release clause for N’Zonzi and he is flying in tomorrow. So, I am not buying that either.
We could do without Mahrez, but I think a DM was vital. I am curious about how we are going to fix that problem if it occurs to be a problem. I am having flashbacks of 30+ year old fullbacks from Pep’s first season here.
We have enough to push for the title again, but considering how amazing Liverpool’s (our kryptonite) window has been, I am a bit worried.
We have done the usual mistake of not buying proper players after winning the title – a common trend in the Premier League.
I think we will win the Premier League again, just not by 19 points 😉 – I really wish we push for Champions League as well. I just want us in the final.
My top 6 prediction:
1. Manchester City
5. Manchester United