Manchester City have moved quickly in the transfer market this summer, despite not having a manager in-place.
This seems like a strange move considering that City have still yet to confirm former-Malaga boss Manuel Pellegrini as their boss.
Yesterday City completed the £14.9million signing of Jesus Navas from Spanish side Sevilla.
Navas’ arrival followed that of Brazilian playmaker Fernandinho from Shakhtar Donetsk for £30million.
The two signings show that the people behind the scenes of City do not want a repeat of last season’s disappointment.
Last season’s campaign was disappointing to say the least. City lost their Premier League crown to city-rivals Manchester United and again failed to qualify for the knockout stages of the Champions League.
The team and manager came in for heavy criticism for City’s displays in the Champions League. The Citizens were in the so-called ‘Group of death’, but they finished bottom of their group with just three points, after failing to claim a victory in the competition.
Boss Roberto Mancini made some very strange tactical decisions in Europe, which cost his team points at times. His deviation from the tried and tested 4-2-3-1 formation confused the life out of his players.
At one point, City played three at the back and the defenders ran around as if they had never played the game before. Mancini tinkered with the formation that had won the Premier League title the previous season and paid for it by collecting poor results.
The Italian also paid for his poor decisions with his job, as three days after City’s 1-0 FA Cup final defeat to Wigan, Mancini was sacked as Manchester City boss. On reflexion, the sacking may prove to be the right decision, despite the former-Inter boss being popular amongst the City fans.
Former-Malaga boss Manuel Pellegrini is set to take over at City. The Chilean is expected to be announced as the next Citizens boss sometime this week. The 59-year-old has a big reputation in European football, having lead Malaga to the Champions League and then the quarter-finals of the competition.
I would say he is more adventurous than predecessor Mancini in his approach. The Italian is a slight pragmatist, going out not to lose first and then thinking about winning later. Pellegrini is more pro-active in the way his teams play.
The Chilean created an incredible team at minnows Villarreal, on a small budget. The Yellow Submarines played superb football, but the club could not afford major transfer fees and wages. Pellegrini kept Villarreal near the top of the Spanish league against all odds for years, before an ill-fated move to Real Madrid. His time in Madrid was unhappy, but he has happily rebuilt his reputation at Malaga over the last couple of seasons.
With Pellegrini close to arriving at City, surely he was consulted about the new signings. If not then Manchester City could just have wasted nearly £50million on players that may warm the bench next season.
My feeling is that the football people involved in the signings have spoken to the Chilean prior to signings the duo. Pellegrini will know Navas well from his time in Spain, so maybe Navas was signed on Pellegrini’s recommendation.
Both players have flair and creativity; they are just up Pellegrini’s street. Despite not having any experience of the Premier League, I am sure that Pellegrini will prove to be a success at City.
There looks set to be numerous exits from City this summer and they may have a very different team to the one that failed in both the Champions League and Premier League last season.
Argentinian striker Carlos Tevez is being heavily linked with a move to Serie A with both AC Milan and Juventus reportedly interested in signing the striker. The 29-year-old seemed happy at City last season, but it seems that he is considering his options this summer.
Fellow striker Edin Dzeko has also been linked with a move away from Manchester this summer. Chelsea had been linked with a move for the Bosnian, but speculation over his future seems to have gone quiet.
Next season will very much be a story of the unknown in the Premier League title race. Manchester United have a new boss in David Moyes, Jose Mourinho has returned to Chelsea and Pellegrini looks set to be in charge of City next season.
All these facts add up to a case of the Premier League title race being a very unpredictable one next season. Whatever happens though I have a feeling that the title race will be a far closer one than last season and that is no bad thing for City.
Will Manchester City win the Premier League next season?