Manchester City Transfers: Players Citizens Need to Stay in Title Race
As Clint Dempesy turned home that last minute equaliser for Spurs on Sunday evening, I doubt I was alone in thinking that Manchester United were due to be on the end of one of those late, late goals. United's lead atop of the table was cut back to five points with a swing of the American's right foot.
What would have been an excellent three points on the road, swiftly became a frustrating tie. It will have probably felt like a defeat. Dempsey, it could be said, has given Manchester City a route back into this title race.
For all the drama of Sunday's game and the subsequent talk of a title race that has been blown wide open, in recent weeks Manchester City have been going about their business without any dramatics whatsoever.
Since a shock 1-0 defeat to Sunderland on Boxing day, they have won their last four on the bounce, shutting out the opposition in their last three clashes. Whilst the Citizen's have failed to reach the same levels that were on display last year, there is no doubt they are starting to get closer to them. Ominously so for Manchester United.
With all European trophies off the agenda, Mancini's men have the opportunity to have a real go at United in the season run-in. Despite all of the positive things that have been said about United's mental fortitude this season, there is no way that last year's staggering collapse will not be on Red Devil minds. It has to be.
In keeping with the aforementioned points, the City manager will no doubt be thinking carefully about one or two players he could bring in that might provide his side with that added impetus in the season run-in. It is always difficult to bring in the biggest names in January, but there is still talent out there that Mancini might look at.
One player that would certainly be an interesting proposition is Real Betis' Beñat. The Spanish midfielder operates in a deep-lying playmaker role and has been fantastic for high-flying Betis this season, who sit in fourth place in La Liga. He has shot to prominence with key goals in wins over Sevilla in the Seville Derby and the winner in a 1-0 triumph over Real Madrid.
Beñat could prove to be an excellent foil for Yaya Toure, who for all his abilities, is not really a playmaker. A City midfield two of Toure as the box-to-box runner and Beñat as the "regista" would be certainly represent a fearsome partnership.
City have already been linked with the Spaniard during the window, with new Citizen's director of football Txiki Begiristain apparently keen to get him on the City roster. The former Barcelona director is clearly another man who has been impressed by his talents.
Another area in which it could be argued that City are a bit short is a lack of directness and pace in wide areas. Silva and Nasri both line-up on the flanks, but will often drift inside, with neither really willing to go at the opposition full back with pace and trickery.
Because of this, City have sometimes found it difficult when up against team who sit deep, as they have no raw pace in wide areas to help them get in behind opponents.
With the status of Balotelli's future up in the air (as ever), a wide player who can operate in a forward role would be a real bonus. One player who springs to mind as fulfilling both of those categories and who might be available, is German International Andre Schürrle. He is a young, vibrant and skillful player—one who would certainly excite the City faithful.
Schürrle possesses electric pace and has worked well in both the wide and central areas of the pitch for his club Bayer Leverkusen. Chelsea have been consistently linked with Schürrle, but at the moment, I feel City could benefit from his qualities just as much as the Londoners.
Aside from the big names, who do you think could help City wrestle back a five-point gap? Let me know in the comments section or follow me on Twitter: @ MattJFootball
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