Pre-season Starts in Earnest
As players start to head back from holiday to begin their new season work for their new season Clubs, it cannot have gone unnoticed that so far City do not look as though they will be held to ransom in their search to improve the squad for the challenges ahead.
I firmly believed that like Ferguson, Mancini would buy early and give us a clear look at the pathways down which he intends to steer Manchester City in the 2011/12 season.
Instead we have been beset with rumour after rumour, linked with every major signing, every player switching Club in what seems like the enitre world.
What we do know is that Mancini has some sort of plan. It is no longer about 'Who can we sign that you can't afford', it's about where the perceived weaknesses are and how we master them.
The exception to this is probably Nasri, who our North London feeder Club appear to be happy to see leave. Maybe they just want City involved to do a 'Berbatov' once again on Stretford's finest in pushing the price up so that the Glazers have to stump up another outrageous amount of money for a player about whom I have mixed feelings.
I recall the match at Eastlands last season when Boyata was sent off. Nasri was one of the perpetrators of the pass-the-parcel game for midfield yellow cards in respect of fouls far worse than that offered by Boyata and then he was one of the beneficiaries as City continued to try to save the match as the injustices continued to prevail. At that time I referred to him as an 'Ashburton Assassin'.
Not long after that as Arsenal surrendered woefully in every competition, he became a prime mover in the Ashburton Grove Bottling Factory. He couldn't step up to any plate, couldn't make things happen for his Club and basically embarked on an annonymous ending to the season as Arsenal by their supposed standards looked to be heading for the table bottom trapdoor, at least on form terms.
So what would he add to City? For me not much. Although he does have Champions League experiences, most of them bad ones!
Gael Clichy is a player whose career I have watched since he became involved in the top flight at Arsenal. He is Premier League savvy and reasonably robust but if we are to buy this lad, who I understand might be having a medical as we speak, he needs to look to be a defender and not another raiding full back who can't tackle. He appears to be much more athletic than Kolarov or Bridge, so he might add something, or at least in introducing competition, bring out something in Kolarov we have not yet seen.
Are Sanchez and Neymar realistic? For me no they are not. Neymar is young and ambitious but being Brazilian could be another of those experiences we don't want (Elano and Robinho take note). Sanchez can't seem to make his mind up what he wants so for me..leave him where he is and look to someone else. And here David Silva could hold the key in helping persuade Juan Mata to come and join him on his Eastlands adventure.
Between them the Spanish impresarios could provide the much needed plan B or even plan A in the event of the play guided through Tevez springing a leak.
Between them they would bring out in Dzeko what we have been expecting to see and bring out more creativity in Balotelli. Add to that the effect on Johnson who would need to step up to a new level much in the way that Richards did in the second half of last season, when I had him destined for the exit in the New Year transfer window. Fair play to you Micah!
Cahill is not for me at the prices quoted. I would prefer us to use Boateng in the centres or even Boyata in the event of Lescott losing form.
I would only look to add a couple of midfielders who can take some of the defensive burden off Nigel de Jong plus add creativity in a way that Barry and Milner do not....oh and keep the ball.
Up front we look reasonably potent if we get more out of Dzeko and Balotelli and once again get Yaya on his lung bursting runs to join in.
I wouldn't like to see Given go if only for the quality of back-up he gives us, but he does have some shortcomings and maybe he can demonstrate them for a new employer. With Gonzales out on loan, we would need some quality back-up in there as none of the other keepers that I have seen look ready. I wonder what John Burridge is doing now?
So as the troops head home, and as Tevez misses sitters for Argentina in the Copa America, will we see a new set of plans drawn up for the campaign? I suspect we will. Mancini has all that time minus Tevez at his disposal to create a new form of attack based around Dzeko and Balotelli. I'm sure we will see some benefit from that as the season emerges. With alternatives up his sleeve, I expect the Club to move to the next level once again in the new season.
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