Monday, February 3, 2014

Man City Report - January Transfer Window Closes With a Whimper

After Manchester City spent over £90 million on four players in the summer transfer window, I thought chances were very low that City would spend as much in the the January transfer window.  Still when the January transfer window opened, I implored City to target younger, long-term acquisitions with not a very expensive price tag to inject some young legs into their squad since they are chasing four trophies.  City did not follow that strategy given that they did not purchase a single player.  Instead, City either released (22-year old midfielder Abdisalam Ibrahim) or loaned out (forward Harry Bunn to Huddersfield Town, midfielder George Evans to Crewe Alexandra, midfielder Emyr Huws to Birmingham City, striker John Guidetti to Stoke City, and midfielder Albert Rusnak to Birmingham City) a number of their younger players.

Player Rankings
1. Yaya Toure (M, LR 1)
2. Vincent Kompany (D, LR 3)
3. Sergio Aguero (F, LR 2)
4. David Silva (M, LR 5)
5. Alvaro Negredo (F, LR 4)
6. Jesus Navas (M, LR 7)
7. Fernandinho (M, LR 6)
8. Pablo Zabaleta (D, LR 12)
9. Joe Hart (GK, LR 11)
10. Edin Dzeko (F, LR 9)
11. Samir Nasri (M, LR 9)
12. Gael Clichy (D, LR 13)
13. Aleksandar Kolarov (D, LR 14)
14. Stevan Jovetic (F, LR 17)
15. James Milner (M, LR 15)
16. Matija Nastasic (D, LR 10)
17. Javi Garcia (M, LR 16)
18. Joleon Lescott (D, LR 18)
19. Micah Richards (D, LR 19)
20. Jack Rodwell (M, LR 20)
21. Martin Demichelis (D, LR 22)
22. Dedryck Boyata (D, LR 21)
23. Costel Pantilimon (GK, LR 23)
24. Alex Nimely (F, LR 26)
25. Erik Johansen (GK, LR 27)
26. Marcos Lopes (M, LR N/A)
27. Richard Wright (GK, LR 25)
City were linked to the Porto pair of central defender Eliaquim Mangala and central midfielder Fernando.  Instead of purchasing what might have been two pieces of the club's spine for the next decade, City purchased an entire soccer club.  After purchasing New York City FC as an expansion MLS team set to join the league in 2015 less than a year ago, City purchased Melbourne Heart FC in Australia.  That means City now owns teams on three continents.  It looks like New York City FC and Melbourne Heart FC could be dumping grounds future homes to current City players with expensive wages that are no longer useful to City given that the MLS allows three "Designated Players" and the A-League allows one "Marquee Player".  That means the likes of Gareth Barry and Joleon Lescott could be on their way to the United States or Australia in the January transfer window next year.

City manager Manuel Pellegrini was named Barclays Premier League manager of the month in January but unfortunately he has no chance of winning that same honor in February following City's 1-0 home loss to Chelsea.  With Fernandino injured, Pellegrini started Martin Demechelis in central midfield alongside Yaya Toure against Chelsea, which almost seemed like an April Fools joke when I saw the starting 11 announced.  Pellegrini had a healthy James Milner, Jack Rodwell, and Marcos Lopes on the bench.  I favored starting Milner, Rodwell, or Lopes over Demechelis.  That also shows you how much City missed out by not purchasing Fernando in the January transfer window.  City's loss to Chelsea snapped their perfect record to start the Premier League at The Etihad and their 20-game unbeaten streak.

City is showing some financial discretion in order to conform with the Financial Fair Play rules.  That makes sense long-term because City lost £197.5 in 2011, £97.9 million in 2012, and £51.6 million in 2013.  City's owners have deep enough pockets to float the losses just discussed without thinking twice but City still need to get their books balanced in the next 12 months or they risk being banned from Champions League play.  While City's inactivity in the January transfer window makes sense long-term, it clearly will have a negative short-term impact on their pursuit of four trophies this season.

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