The Hard Tackle analyses and delivers its own verdict on the business done by Manchester City in the recently concluded summer transfer window.
The summer transfer window saw many transfer records break as £100 million-plus moves became a norm. The deadline day was somehow a dull affair. Nevertheless, the clubs spent enough money in the entire transfer window to fuel their respective ambitions from the 2017-18 campaign.
Manchester City was one such team that reinforced heavily. Pep Guardiola oversaw an overhaul of sorts at Etihad and it will be interesting to see how it all pans out for the Spaniard and his City side this season. The Hard Tackle takes a bird’s eye view on their business conducted.
INS: Benjamin Mendy, Kyle Walker, Bernardo Silva, Ederson, Danilo, Douglas Luiz (loaned out afterwards), Olarenwaji Kayode (loaned out afterwards)
OUTS: Kelechi Iheanacho, Enes Unal, Wilfried Bony, Aaron Mooy, Nolito, Fernando, Olivier Ntcham, Aleskandar Kolarov, Samir Nasri, Joe Hart, Jason Denayer, Ruben Sobrino, Willy Caballero, Jesus Navas, Gael Clichy, Bacary Sagna
MVA (Most Valuable Addition) – Ederson
There were several takeaways from Guardiola’s first season in charge of Manchester City. But, perhaps the biggest one was the absence of a commanding presence between the sticks. Claudio Bravo was brought in to solve the problem last season but to no avail.
This season however, Guardiola decided to spend big and bring in Ederson in what is one of the highest transfer fees paid for a goalkeeper. And it’s not just the money but the profile of the player he has brought in. Unlike Bravo, Ederson is only 24 and is not as set in his ways as the Chilean.
Guardiola will be able to get through to Ederson more and instil the ball-playing sweeper role into him slowly, if not in an instant. In the Brazilian, the Citizens have a goalkeeper that may be the last piece of Guardiola’s jigsaw puzzle and it will be interesting to see what the keeper can achieve under his new manager.
Shrewd Work (A departure that is ideal for both parties) – Wilfried Bony
While there are many candidates that may be named here, Wilfried Bony’s transfer edges the outward moves of Joe Hart, Kelechi Iheanacho and Aaron Mooy as the one that benefits both the player and the club. Bony has failed to have much of an impact at City.
The striker looked bereft of confidence and was not in Guardiola’s immediate plans. A move back to Swansea though, could see him rekindle his career. Paul Clement needed a strong presence up top and Bony can provide just that. The striker had his breakout season at the Welsh club and could reinvigorate himself now that he is back to his old hunting ground.
Manchester City have taken an overall financial hit as the player’s transfer has come full circle. Still, at 28, Bony can finally get his career back on track while City themselves manage to move a player who is not in Guardiola’s plans off the books.
The Big Miss (A player who should have left) – Yaya Toure
The Ivory Coast international has truly been a key player for City over the years. Synonymous with the word success at Etihad, Yaya, though, should have departed this season. Despite extending his deal till 2018, the player has visibly lost his place in the starting eleven.
In fact, Guardiola seems to prefer fielding Fabian Delph over Yaya Toure. The veteran was not bereft of offers in the summer and it would have been wise to move. His struggle for game time will only accentuate once Ilkay Gundogan returns to full fitness. At 34, the midfield supremo doesn’t have much football left in him.
And it would be a shame to see him spend the last years of his footballing career on the bench. The 34-year-old has been an inspirational figure at Etihad but perhaps the current scenario is proof that his time at the club is truly heading towards an end. The club and the player, though, can avoid a bitter one by moving Yaya along in January, at the very least.
Final Verdict: SUCCESS
Pep Guardiola reinforced the defence heavily this season – one of the priorities given their poor showing last time out. The arrival of Bernardo Silva, too, equips Guardiola with another special player in attack. The addition of Kyle Walker, Danilo and Benjamin Mendy will see their full-back problems sorted.
Ederson also seems like the goalkeeper who can finally conform to Guardiola’s standards. The departures, though, of Kelechi Iheanacho and Enes Unal has left a sour taste in the fans’ mouth, with both the players very highly rated.
However, we saw Guardiola remove the deadwood inside the squad and replace them with highly-rated superstars. We can only map the success of the business conducted by the displays on the pitch. On paper though, the team looks far better than the one Guardiola had before the start of the transfer window.