Firstly, let’s see who City have already signed.
Aguero is City’s star signing of the summer, and even with City’s wealth, is unlikely to be matched. For a fee believed to be £38m, Aguero joined on a 5 year deal, taking the number 16 shirt. When it was announced that Carlos Tevez wanted to leave City (again), it was presumed that City’s pursuit of Aguero was as a replacement for his departing compatriot. The logic is clear, with both players having similar qualities – short(ish), stocky, with a turn of pace, good close control and explosive shooting. Whilst Aguero might not match Tevez on work rate, from those that know, it is claimed that Aguero is the better all-round player. Even with City’s new purchasing power, the signing was quite a coup, and another statement of intent.
And yet, Tevez is still at City. His future is as unknown as ever – if a club in warmer climes wants to pay big money, they will get him, but such clubs are rather thin on the ground. If he stays, City will have a frightening strike force at their disposal, but the hunch is that he will leave this summer one way or the other – or at the very latest, strike a deal with Corinthians in the January transfer window. As it seems Wesley Sneijder is moving to United, and Eto’o is on his way too, it seems quite plausible now that Tevez will get a move to Inter Milan – which is two miles closer to his family.
One of three defensive additions to the squad over the summer. The 20-year-old Montenegro defender joined the Blues from Serbian side Partizan Belgrade on a 4 year deal, for around £6m. Now a regular international, he was part of the team that held England to a 0-0 draw at Wembley, last October. He has presumably not been bought with the thought of going straight into the first team – but adds extra depth to the squad, and provides competition for the existing central defenders. Mancini has repeatedly stressed the need for a deep squad to fight for trophies on multiple fronts. With Boateng leaving, there was an obvious need to bring a central defender in.
He might not be listed on the City website, but it seems this deal went through last week. City signed the goalkeeper from Romanian club FC Poli Timisoara. The 24-year-old Pantilimon made two appearances against City last season in a Europa League qualifier, and is a hefty 6 foot 8 inches tall. The signing of another keeper was inevitable once Shay Given predictably left the club for first team football, signing for Aston Villa. As for where he will sit in the pecking order, it is not clear – probably as back-up to Joe Hart, but Stuart Taylor may see the possibility of a promotion to that position now.
The 26 year-old French international left-back was signed from Arsenal for a fee believed to be £7m, on a 4-year deal. Arsenal fans may claim he won’t be missed by them, but again it gives Mancini extra options in defence, with an attacking full back who can complement the forward players down the flanks. The big question is whether he has been bought as a first-choice left-back, or as back up to Aleksandar Kolarov. Only time will tell. Kolarov had a disappointing debut season at City, but at £17m, City won’t be discarding him just yet, after an injury-strewn first season.
Finally, early in the summer, City signed the highly-rated 17 year-old Denis Suarez from Celta Vigo, for a fee though to be £1m plus add-ons, on a 3-year deal. The player is described an all-rounder in midfield, and an organizer. Early glimpses in pre-season bode well.
So with three weeks to go until the transfer windows slams shut, who else might be on the way?
Well, the obvious answer is Samir Nasri. One of the main transfer sagas to drag on over the summer, Nasri is within a year of the end of his contract with Arsenal, and seems keen to leave. He certainly doesn’t seem intent on a new contract, and so it seemed obvious initially that Arsenal would sell, for around £20m, rather than lose him for nothing next year. However, Arsene Wenger has dug his heels in, intent on keeping him, come what may. However in the past week, multiple reports have come out suggesting Nasri is close to signing for City. Having said that, he has been named in Arsenal’s Champions League squad for the games against Udinese, so the situation may well be as clouded as ever.
Is he next?
If not him, then Wesley Sneijder? Well no, this seems highly unlikely, despite reports in the Italian press saying it was a done deal last weekend. A move to Old Trafford is more likely.
Elsewhere, Mancini’s dealings are far from finished. After the other summer saga regarding the destination of Udinese’s Alexis Sanchez, another player seemingly courted by both Manchester clubs, it seems that Mancini wants to purchase another midfielder, on the right-side. A player linked in the press is the Fiorentina player Alessio Cerci, with a price rumoured to be around £5m. The general consensus is of a very talented, yet frustratingly inconsistent player.
And that may be it – unless you believe the rumors of Mancini bringing in another defender.
So let’s look at who has actually left the club during the summer so far.
(Bayern Munich, £10m) – His signing last summer seemed quite an exciting one, after a series of classy performances for Germany in the World Cup. But Boateng never settled – hampered by injuries, and poor form, he was fairly desperate to leave by season-end, eventually forcing through a move to Bayern Munich, for around the same price City paid for him.
(Internacional, undisclosed fee) – At last, he is gone. The £17m fee allegedly paid by City may have become a running-joke despite having little basis in truth (the fee being dependent on numerous add-ons, which obviously were never met), but his return back to Brazil is a relief for all concerned. Mancini still seemed to see something in him, giving him occasional run outs during his tenure. The fans didn’t though – and at last a disastrous stay in Manchester is over.
(Aston Villa, £3.5m) – an inevitable departure, and no one could begrudge him leaving for pastures new. Too good a keeper to be second-fiddle to anyone, he should prove a good signing for Villa.
(Levante, £880,000) – Another less than successful chapter in Manchester City’s transfer history. The sale is made even more disappointing when you consider that Levante wasted little time in selling Caicedo on for a huge profit. Banged the goals in for Levante briefly, but rarely sparkled for City. He won’t be missed.
Other players who have exited include Shaleum Logan (Brentford, free), Javan Vidal (released), Patrick Vieira (retired), Abdisalam Ibrahim (NEC Nijmegen, loan), Michael Johnson (Leicester, loan), Ben Mee (Burnley, loan) and Ryan McGivern (Crystal Palace, loan).
The real activity in coming weeks may be in who exit’s the club – or it would be if City could get rid of a raft of unwanted players. The list is long.
Craig Bellamy is unwilling to drop wages to move elsewhere, which pretty much blocks a move anywhere. He probably wants a return to Cardiff, but they cannot remotely afford his wages, so he faces the prospect of a year of total inactivity. Both sides want a deal to be sorted with someone, so one can expect something to happen late in the transfer window (with City paying some of his wages).
Emmanuel Adebayor is another player who wants to leave, and who City want rid of, but with massive wages, is proving very hard to get rid of. The player seems very keen to move permanently to Real Madrid, with whom he spent the second half of last season on loan. They don’t seem too keen though, or didn’t at first, with the option period to sign him expiring with no activity, but the rumours of a possible move persist, the latest rumour involving a swap deal plus cash with Gago.
Shaun Wright Phillips faces a very uncertain future. At the start of the summer, his future looked certain – in other words, away from City. He has, however, impressed in pre-season, with a couple of wonder-goals, but it seems that Mancini’s interest in buying another wide player means his days are numbered, with Adam Johnson ahead of him in the pecking order – and even he can’t get a starting place in many matches.
Roque Santa Cruz is another expensive mistake on huge wages. Perhaps the best that can be hoped for next season is a loan deal elsewhere in the Premiership, with City once more paying some of his wages.
As you can see, it’s been another busy transfer window at Manchester City, with plenty of twists and turns still to come. Mancini’s priorities were not only to strengthen the first team, but build a deeper squad, to help the team fight on numerous fronts next season. He has bought prudently in defence, and is looking to add an extra option or two in midfield, but upfront many uncertainties remain. With a raft of attacking players proving hard to get rid of, it seems that the remaining weeks of August could still see quite a few players transferring in and out of the club, until Mancini is happy with the squad at his disposal.