Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Man City Report - 2014 Summer Transfer Window Review

There was a ton of roster turnover for Manchester City over the 2014 summer transfer window.  Sure most of the turnover was on the younger/developmental side of the roster but the current senior roster for Man City looks slightly different than the side that won the 2013-14 Capital One Cup & more importantly the Barclay's English Premier League.  Here is a look at all the business done by Man City over the 2014 summer transfer window:

Released/Free Transfers:
Players: midfielder Thomas Agyiri (released), winger Alex Henshall (free transfer), midfielder Kieran Kennedy (released), defender Joleon Lescott (free transfer), striker Alex Nimely (released), goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon (free transfer), defender George Swan (released), and defender Reece Wabara (released).
Analysis: The fact that Nimley was released was a mild surprise given that he is only 23 years old, which is too young to give up on a striker unless there are off the pitch issues we don't know about.  Besides that, the only real notable names that made any significant appearances for the senior side are Lescott and Pantilimon.  Man City purchased Lescott in the 2009 summer transfer window from Everton for $35 million in hopes that he would be one of their two central defender for the next decade.  Unfortunately Lescott's tenure in Man City was a bit uneven given his injury issues and lack of mobility.  I am sure that Lescott would have been a great central defender in the top tier of English football in the 1980's or 1990's because of his size but size alone does NOT make a successful central defender in the current EPL.  Pantilimon was briefly the 1st string keeper last season when Joe Hart struggle but Man City are on the cusp of making a commitment to Hart so hopefully Pantilimon can get 1st team action at Sunderland.  Given that absent injury he would have seen sparse first-team action for Man City over the next few seasons.

Players: midfielder Bismark Adjei-Boateng (Stromsgodset for 2014), striker Devante Cole (Barnsley through January 5, 2015), defender Jason Denayer (Celtic for the season), winger Godsway Donyoh (Falkenbergs FF for 2014), midfielder Adam Drury (St Mirren for the season), striker John Guidetti (Celtic for season), goalkeeper Eirik Holmen Johansen (Sandefjord through 2014), defender Greg Leigh (Crewe through 2014), midfielder Marcos Lopes (Lille for the season), goalkeeper Billy O'Brien (Hyde for the season), defender Ellis Plummer (St Mirren for the season), defender Karim Rekik (PSV Eindhoven for the season), winger Albert Rusnak (SC Cambuur through 2014), and midfielder Bruno Zuculini (Valencia CF for the season).
Analysis: The most notable name on the list is Devante Cole because he is the son of Andy Cole.  It is way too early to tell whether Devante will be anywhere as good as his father Andy though.  One thing is for sure though, Devante would be the 5th or 6th option for Man City up front right now so hopefully he will get more playing time at Barnsley.  Besides Cole, keep an eye on Zuculini because although he is only 21 years old, I could see him blossom into a quality box-to-box central midfielder with regular playing time elsewhere for the next couple seasons.

Loaned with "Option" to Sell
Players: striker Alvaro Negredo (Valencia for the season with $40 million purchase option) and defender Micah Richards (Fiorentina for the season with $2 million purchase option).
Analysis: Bummed to see Richards go, unfortunately his unlimited athletic promise was rarely on display given all of his injury issues.  Although Negredo is often injured, it is not the reason he was "loaned" to Valencia. The reason Negredo was loaned was that Man City is doing everything in their power to comply with the UEFA Financial Fair Play rules.  When healthy, there is no doubt that Negrado gives Man City a different striker than anyone else currently on the roster.  In fact, there were various points through the first half of last season that without Negrado that Man City would NOT have been able to stay within reach of the first place in the EPL.  Man City purchased Negrado from Sevilla for $27.5 million before the start of last season and could sell him for upwards of $40 million in their loan-to-buy deal with Valencia, which will help balance their books.  Mark my words, if Man City lose Aguero or Dzeko to injury for an extended period of time, they will struggle to stay at the top of the EPL table and thus will surely miss Negredo.

Players: midfielder Gareth Barry (sold for $3 million to Everton), midfielder Javi Garcia (sold for $19 million to FC Zenit Saint Petersburg), midfielder Emyr Huws (sold for $4 million to Wigan), and midfielder Jack Rodwell (sold for $15 million to Sunderland).
Analysis: I was never a big Barry fan.  Sure Barry is a decent holding midfielder but he does not tackle that well and gives you very little going forward so I see him as just another guy.  Seems like Huws and Rodwell were not in Man City's long-term plans even though they are both relatively young so it is nice to see them get a chance for regular minutes elsewhere.  Given how well Garcia played in place of Fernandinho in central midfield along side Yaya Toure at the end of last season, I thought Garcia was in Man City's long-term plans but clearly I was wrong because Man City sold Garcia $19 million, which means they took a slight loss on him since they purchased him from Benfica for $24 million in the 2012 summer transfer window.  With such a strong roster, turnover is inevitable and none of the players sold would get regular first team action unless Man City suffer a number of injuries.

Players: goalkeeper Willy Caballero ($11 million from Malaga), midfielder Fernando ($20 million from Porto), midfielder Frank Lampard (on loan from MLS club NYCFC), defender Eliaquim Mangala ($50 million from Porto), defender Bacary Sagna (free transfer from Arsenal), and midfielder Bruno Zuculini ($3.5 million from Racing Club).
Analysis: Man City was only allowed to spend $82 million due to their Financial Fair Play restrictions from UEFA, which meant that every dollar that Man City spent in the summer transfer window had to be spent wisely. Time will tell how much of an impact Caballero, Fernando, and Sagna will have because there are more talented players in front of them on the current roster in Joe Hart, Fernandinho, and Pablo Zabaleta. Man City was able to take Lampard on loan from their "sister" MLS expansion franchise New York City FC because they do NOT have their first MLS match till March of 2015.  It will be odd to see Lampard in a light blue jersey as opposed to a dark blue jersey given that he played for Chelsea from 2001 to 2014. With Zuculini out on loan that leaves Mangala.  It is only fitting that Mangala joins Man City as Lescott leaves the club because Mangala looks like a much younger and athletic version of Lescott.  Given how raw Mangala is right now, it will be interesting to see how long it will take the French international to get up to speed in the EPL after playing last season in the top league in Portugal.  Long-term I would be surprised if Mangala was as much of a bust as Lescott but in the short-term I see Mangala struggling to get regular first team appearances, which is not what you would expect from a player that commanded such an expensive transfer fee.

Contract Extensions Signed
Players: striker Sergio Agüero (5 years), striker Edin Dzeko (4 years), defender Aleksandar Kolarov (3 years), defender Vincent Kompany (5 years), winger Samir Nasri (5 years), and winger David Silva (5 years).
Analysis: The players just listed are some of the most important players on the current senior roster and the core that helped Man City win two EPL titles in the last three seasons, which makes each extension look good in a vacuum but the weekly wage of each player's extension was not disclosed so I cannot comment on their dollar amounts.  I can comment on the length of their contract extensions, which is my only nitpick.  Besides Dzeko and Kolarov, the lengths of the rest of the contract extensions were five years so Man City did not stagger their lengths.  That means that the core of the roster could go through a forced turnover at the same time when those contracts are due to run out when all the players will be in their early 30's so their transfer value will be fairly low.  Given that fact, I would have signed Nasri and possibly Silva to shorter deals.

Man City's roster is now set till 2015 so it will be interesting to see how the players mesh with each other given that Man City will have a ton of matches spread over the Capital One Cup, Champions League, FA Cup, and the EPL in the last four months of 2014.  Make sure to check back during the second international break for my initial rankings of Man City's roster.

No comments:

Post a Comment