Monday, August 19, 2013

Man City Report - Start of Manuel Pellegrini Era

There has been a fair amount of turnover for Manchester City this off-season following their second place finish in the 2012-13 English Premier League and 2013 FA Cup final loss 1-0 to Wigan.  Despite manager Roberto Mancini leading City to their first trophy in 35 years when City won the 2011 FA Cup and their first EPL title in 44 years when City won the EPL in 2011-12, even if City won the 2013 FA Cup, the writing was on the wall that Mancini was on the way out.  City brought the Mancini era officially to a close with two matches left in EPL season.

Besides Mancini, a number of players left City during the off-season: Wayne Bridge (free transfer, D, Reading), Kolo Toure (free transfer, D, Liverpool), Jeremy Helan ($500,000, D, Sheffield Wednesday), Maicon (free transfer, D, AS Roma), Karim Rekik (loan, D, PSV), Carlos Tevez (F, Juventus), Roque Santa Cruz (free transfer, F, Malaga), and Reece Wabara (loan, D, Doncaster Rovers).  The only real loss was Tevez.  It is symbolic that Mancini and Tevez left the club at the same time because despite clashing on a number of occasions, both were important figures in shepherding City from being a second tier EPL side to a world class side.

Even while Mancini was still in charge of City, rumors were swirling that he would be replaced by Manuel Pellegrini.  Once the former Villarreal, Real Madrid, and Malaga manager (among other stops) officially signed on as manager of City, the club's pocketbooks opened up.  The transfer window is open until the end of August but as of the start of their 2013-14 season, City already added four quality players: Fernandinho ($50 million, F, Shakhtar Donetsk), Jesus Navas ($30 million, M, Sevilla), Stevan Jovetic ($35 million, F, Fiorentina), and Alvaro Negredo ($27.5 million, F, Sevilla).

Given the quality City already had on their roster before signing the four players just mentioned, they start their run towards an EPL title with their strongest roster ever.  Taking into account the transfers above, the current City depth chart heading into the 2013-14 campaign looks like this:

Joe Hart
Costel Pantilimon
Richard Wright

Right Back:
Pablo Zabaleta
Micah Richards

Center Back:
Vincent Kompany
Matija Nastasic
Joleon Lescott

Left Back:
Gael Clichy
Aleksandar Kolarov

Central Midfield:
Yaya Toure
Javi Garcia
Jack Rodwell
Gareth Barry
Abdul Razak

David Silva
Samir Nasri
Jesus Navas
James Milner
Scott Sinclair

Sergio Aguero
Edin Dzeko
Stevan Jovetic
Alvaro Negredo
John Guidetti

After spending in excess of $125 million on four players, I would be surprised if City purchased any more players before the transfer window closes.  In fact, it is much more likely that Man City will sell or loan out some of the younger players (Scott Sinclair, Abdul Razak, or John Guidetti) since playing time will be scarce given the quality of their current roster.

I hope you enjoy the start of City's run towards the quadruple (Capital One Cup, EPL, FA Cup, and UEFA Champions League) as they host Newcastle in their first match of the 2013-14 EPL season. 
Make sure to check back after the transfer window closes on Monday, September 2nd for a full review of all the moves made by City this off-season.

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