Movers and Shakers: Man City in the transfer Market

by Charlie Coffey

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

The Roman revolution was nothing. A storm of cash from the east has come to strip the top talent from world football and place it in the quivering hands of the latest manager briefed with Mission Improbable. Nothing is permanent, money is no object as Sheikh Mansour and his trusty chequebook launch an assault on the real gold: no, not oil, but silverware, the only precious metal that the Saudis have not yet been able to afford.

Last year’s ‘dream team’ may be largely dismissed, as punishment for their failure to secure City’s first trophy in 34 years. Players sold on the European dream will now be sold themselves to make way for the new crop. The Lescott, De Jong and Adebayor shirts bought by excited Citizens are soon to be as defunct as Mark Hughes. Roberto Mancini is now the man on whose head the responsibility falls. His situation is enviable yet barely workable; a squad full of expensive players with more coming in by the day, and only eleven can play each game.

Nobody is safe. Even Shay Given, a revelation between the sticks in his short stay at the club, will fear that a Gianluigi Buffon may usurp him. There is no place yet for England’s brightest goalkeeping star, Joe Hart. Wayne Bridge finds himself third at best in the pecking order for left back now since Aleksandar Kolarov (£16m) and Jerome Boateng (£10.4) have been bought.

At centre-half Mancini must choose between Vincent Kompany, club captain (for now at least) Kolo Toure, Nedum Onuoha and Joleon Lescott. At 6ft 4 Boateng is also more than ample in the middle. Expect one more centre-half to be added, though. The right-back berth is currently shared between Pablo Zabaleta and Micah Richards. Whoever Mancini chooses or buys one guarantee is that City will line up with a huge, muscular back four next season.

It is in the defensive midfield position where the overcrowding is most severe. As packed as a Japanese commuter train, the hulking City defensive midfield could prevent a scud missile from reaching the goal, never mind a football. Gareth Barry, Patrick Vieira, Nigel de Jong, Yaya Toure (£24m) and Kompany again will have to squeeze into what will be, they hope, a two-man system, although it is rumoured that de Jong will depart.

The one lucky man sitting in the creative midfield position of the likely 4-3-3 could have to compete with Mikel Arteta, if he manages to creep out of Goodison Park over David Moyes’ dead body. Stephen Ireland looks set to stay and fight for a place if he cannot be persuaded to go to Villa along with Shaun Wright-Phillips, as a makeweight for the vastly overpriced Milner, who it is presumed will continue in the central role  in which he flourished last season. Michael Johnson will expect to play if he can shake off his long-term injury problems, but he shouldn’t hold his breath.

The front three: with Mario Balotelli having all but checked into a Manchester Hotel as this goes to press, the future of most of City’s forwards will depend on whether the club are successful in their silly-money pursuit of Fernando Torres. Emmanuel Adebayor was excellent last season but could be shown the door, or more likely a taxi to the airport, with several Italian clubs said to be interested.

The arrival of David Silva (£25m) to play out wide may mean that the only forward to keep his place since the start of last season will be Carlos Tevez. Adam Johnson might have had his six months in a starting berth and be relegated to the bench. Vladimir Weiss, who impressed at the World Cup with Slovakia, may need a move away to continue his development. Bolton will surely want to make last year’s loan move permanent. Then there is Roque Santa Cruz, the £17.5m forgotten man who City were desperate to buy may well leave at half that price, as almost certainly will Jo, who was also shipped out on loan last season despite the £18m City paid for him. Craig Bellamy, one of the best performers at the club last year, will almost surely join his 92nd club.

My Manchester City 11 (with existing players):


Do you agree? What would your best City team be?

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  • MCFC

    Starting 11 for next season:

    Ya Ya Toure


    Not a bad team to field !!

  • Darren

    I can’t see Lescott starting to be honest, Toure is a better defender, only marginally. Good business by Wenger actually.

    Adam Johnson is class, he’d walk into any other Premier League side, too good to be a bench warmer.

    That’s a pretty expensive bench and not a bad one either

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