A look at how new signings could fit into the Manchester City team next season.
After a disappointing season of limply failing to retain their Premier League title and losing to underdogs Wigan in the FA Cup final, new manager Manuel Pellegrini will be keen to fix many of the problems in the squad he inherits from Roberto Mancini. The Italian had a poor summer in the transfer market last year, and his replacement will have to make the right moves this time.
Joe Hart will obviously remain as the club’s first choice goalkeeper, and the defence will probably remain largely unchanged. Real Madrid centre-back Pepe is reportedly a target, and could form a fine partnership with Vincent Kompany, ensuring that talented youngster Mateja Nastasic doesn’t play too often too early in his career and get burned out. Zabaleta and Clichy have performed well enough at full-back to continue there under Pellegrini.
It could be a new-look central midfield pairing, an area that desperately needs work after poor seasons from both Gareth Barry and Javi Garcia. Fernandinho has already been brought in from Shakhtar Donetsk, and looks a promising player, offering a bit more energy and ability going forward than either of City’s current midfield duo. He could be joined by his fellow countryman Hernanes, with the Lazio star believed to be a top target for Pellegrini. Hernanes is a highly dynamic all-round box-to-box player and would form a fine partnership with Fernandinho.
Ahead of the Brazilian pair should be a trio of Spanish players, with Jesus Navas already brought in from Sevilla to play on the right, and Malaga starlet Isco expected to join him and David Silva. The three are likely to have a certain degree of freedom to move around in that attacking midfield area, with Isco probably playing off the main striker Sergio Aguero and Silva slightly wide on the left.
City have often played with two strikers in the last few years, but the probable departures of Carlos Tevez and Edin Dzeko and a seeming unwillingness to pay over the odds for prime target Edinson Cavani may mean City line up with just Aguero as their striker next season. Luis Suarez has also been linked with a move to the Etihad Stadium, but Liverpool won’t want to sell to a Premier League rival, which could make it difficult for City to land any of their targets, having already missed out on Radamel Falcao to Monaco.