Sheikh Mansour’s Manchester City were under the scanner of UEFA during the off-season for breaching the rules of Financial Fair Play (FFP). However, despite being scrutinized by UEFA manager Manuel Pelligrini wasted no time in securing his targets and getting into the pre-season with an almost complete squad. Arguably, the strongest squad in the league – Manchester City have a wicked advantage over all their rivals in squad depth and quality. With almost every position covered by an international player who could easily walk into any Premier League team, Manchester City possess the squad that every EPL manager envies. This time last summer, in his first season in charge Chilean boss – Manuel Pelligrini spent just over a 100 million GBP as he brought to North-west England the likes of Brazilian Fernandinho, Spanish duo Alvaro Negredo and Jesus Navas, Montenegrin forward Stevan Jovetic and Argentine veteran Martin Demichellis. The Capital One Cup and the English Premier League Title justified the lavish spending by the former Real Madrid boss. However, another disappointing run in the Champions League wouldn’t have pleased Manchester City’s trigger happy owners. Entering the season as defending champions and favourites to win it again, it was but obvious that the Chilean manager would look to add to his squad from the market.
Transfers In :-
Bacary Sagna from Arsenal – Free Transfer
The French full-back left the Emirates to become the 5th Gunner to swap London for Manchester in the last 3 seasons. After a long, dragged out dispute over a contract renewal Arsene Wenger and the management at the Emirates had to watch their first choice right-back depart the club after 7 seasons. Having arrived on a free transfer, only time will tell whether Sagna turns out to be shrewd buy or a highly-paid bench warmer. The French full-back will have to contest with the consistent and fan-favorite Pablo Zabaleta for a starting place. The competition for places heats up at City.
Fernando Reges from FC Porto – 12 million GBP
The 26 year-old Brazilian midfielder made the switch from Portugal to England after being extensively scouted by a number of English clubs over the past few years. The tough tackling midfielder will compete with fellow Brazilian Fernandinho, Spaniard Javi Garcia for a spot in the Manchester City’s midfield. Previously linked with the likes of Arsenal, Tottenham and Liverpool, Fernando joins the defending champions with a reputation of ‘shutting doors’ in midfield than opening them.
Willy Caballero from Malaga – 6 million GBP
Brazilian goal-keeper Willy Caballero reunites with manager Manuel Pelligrini at Manchester City after having sealed his 6 million move from Malaga in Spain. The 32 year-old joins City to compete with England keeper Joe Hart for the starting spot after Romanian keeper Costel Pantillimon left the Etihad in search of first team football. An astute shot-stopper – Caballero is a player Pelligrini trusts.
Frank Lampard from New York City FC – Loan
Chelsea legend Frank Lampard joins title-rivals Manchester City from their sister club New York City FC on a six-month loan. The England international will wear the number 18 jersey for the defending champions and will be available for all domestic and European ties. Having spent 13 years at Stamford Bridge, 36 year-old Frank Lampard will don the sky-blue of Manchester City wearing the squad number 18 – his West Ham jersey number. A move aimed at selling more jerseys than getting minutes out of Lampard, Pellgrini expects Frank to use his experience as he aims at defending the English Premier League title.
Gareth Barry to Everton – Free
The defensive midfielder who was an invaluable part of Roberto Mancini’s title-winning squad 2 seasons ago left the Etihad for Everton on a free transfer. Having spent the last season under Roberto Martinez, Barry made the move permanent. The left footed holding midfielder will have a very important part to play for Everton as they juggle European responsibilities with domestic ones.
Costel Pantilimon to Sunderland – Free
27 year-old Romanian goal-keeper Costel Pantilimon joined Gus Poyet’s Sunderland having left defending champions Manchester City after his contract wasn’t renewed. The lanky goal-keeper will provide good competition for Sunderland number 1 Vito Manone as Poyet takes control of the North-westerners.
Joleon Lescott to West Bromwich Albion – Free
Joleon Lescott joins Alan Irvine’s West Brom from Manchester City on a free transfer. The 31 year-old centre back left Etihad after having rejected contract renewals in pursuit for regular first-team football. In struggling West Brom, Lescott will provide much needed experience at the back.
Jack Rodwell to Sunderland – 7 million GBP
One of the brightest English talents a few seasons ago, Jack Rodwell settles for a move away from the Etihad in search for regular football as he looks to rebuild his promising career. Rodwell will find company in Adam Johnson and Costel Pantilimon who also moved to Sunderland in search of first-team action.
With a squad like the one Manchester City has, very few would change things around. Pelligrini has tread wisely in the transfer market securing the names he needs early and swiftly. With the signing of French centre-back Eliaquim Mangala imminent, the defending champions will take some serious beating this season.