Man City's Biggest Summer Transfer Window Needs After Runner-Up EPL Finish
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If this Manchester City season was a gift, most Sky Blues fans would be scouring the box it came in for the receipt hoping for an easy return.
City began the season with the Premier League title, Champions League dreams and a manager holding a newly minted five-year contract.
Now all those things are gone.
Still, City's position entering the summer transfer window is not nearly as gloomy as the feelings that followed the recent FA Cup debacle.
Sheikh Mansour and his team should be looking ahead to the transfer window humming a few bars of Gomez: "And that's okay. At least I've got options."
On with it then. Quit navel-gazing about what is gone, Sky Blues fans, and look ahead to what is yet to be.
Technically, it is still speculation, but the whole world seems to know that Manuel Pelligrini will be named City's new manager when the club deems the time right.
Not that such a technicality would stop the likes of The Mirror from projecting that City will not win the Premier League next season with Pelligrini at the helm or anything.
The go-to move for most pundits is to analyze a change like the one City seems primed to make to within an inch of its life. To talk about changes in tactics, or the pedigree of the guy coming in.
Bollocks. This move is like every other managerial change in recorded sports history.
The new manager is always, always going to be the ideological reverse side of the coin from the man he replaces.
Mancini was run out of Manchester, by and large, for the sin of not having his coddled, millionaire show ponies love him enough, per The Telegraph.
So City is likely to turn to Pelligrini (if not him, then someone like him) who arrives with a reputation for managing his side with a kinder, gentler approach.
The risk here is absurdly grave.
Mancini was fired for finishing second in the league, failing to survive a second consecutive Group of Death in Champions League play and losing the FA Cup final when his players seemed to quit on him.
Of course, the year before that, Mancini had secured City's first league title in 44 years.
What, then, might a "successful" season for Pelligrini be? Surely, anything less than a deep run into the knockout stage of the Champions League and/or the reclaiming of the Premier League trophy just will not do.
Have fun, Manuel.
Because Pelligrini will doubtlessly manage in the shadow left by Mancini, at least for a time, City's management is almost guaranteed to do for Pelligrini what it refused to do for Mancini last summer.
That is, City is quite likely to get Pelligrini at least one ALL CAPS signings to set the new man up for success.
You see, if Pelligrini fails, the second-guessing will be pointed and impolite. Distant as City's braintrust might seem, they really do want to be loved, and nothing engenders love like winning.
Looking at City objectively, the side is still among the strongest defensive teams in the world. Unless they give up six to Norwich City at the weekend, City will finish with the fewest goals conceded in Premier League play this season (no small thanks to Mancini, by the way).
City's keeper Joe Hart is among the finest in any league. The back line is manned by the likes of Vincent Kompany, Matija Nastasic, Pablo Zabaleta and Gael Clichy. This is not a need area for City.
You know what City needs? GOALS. City needs goals.
The strike force of Sergio Aguero, Edin Dzeko and Carlos Tevez was much ado about nothing in 2012-2013. Sure, Aguero had injury reasons for his modest production, and Dzeko's playing time was never what he wanted.
But when the leading scorer on the team has 14 goals after 37 games, well, that is just insufficient.
If you have followed anything written under this byline for the past two months, you know what is coming next.
City needs Edinson Cavani like an addict needs a fix.
Cavani has scored 28 goals in Serie A for Napoli this season. City, as a team, has scored 64 goals.
Financial Fair Play or not, expect to see Cavani in sky blue again next season. Except that it will be an English, rather than an Italian sky blue.
Elsewhere, City seems to be openly flirting with Brazilian midfielder Fernandinho, and the feeling certainly seems mutual, per the Daily Mail.
It almost seems silly to say it, but given the beleaguered nature of the club these days, Manchester City almost certainly appreciates the desire shown by an elite player to come to the blue side of Manchester in its hour of need.
Are there other moves City could make? Probably. But again, under this byline the advice has been to by and large stay the course. This side's key players have produced great results and can again.
Maybe a new manager is the key.
A week ago, this would have been the easiest series of moves to predict.
With Mancini at the helm, the following players were almost certain to leave Manchester freely or force their way out: Joleon Lescott, Samir Nasri, Scott Sinclair and Dzeko.
Some of these men are still very likely to leave.
If, for example, Cavani does come to Manchester, Dzeko is the most likely candidate to be shipped out to make room for him.
And Lescott does not seem likely to supplant Nastasic or Kompany any time soon. At his age, Lescott is surely looking to go to a club where he can be a first-choice defender again.
Still, with Mancini gone, might both Nasri and his employer give the new manager some time to see whether the brighter form from the Frenchman at the season's end might carry over into a new season?
You might think the same could be said for Sinclair. Not here. He can go.
As painful as the past season was, City's outlook approaching the summer transfer window should be bright and full of unbridled optimism.
City's best players all underperformed in 2012-2013. No one can dispute that.
Still, none of City's best players other than Yaya Toure are even 30 years old yet, and Yaya has been 30 for less than a week.
Two marquee signings in the window plus a new manager would make City a tough team to bet against on the come.
Even one bank-breaking, transcendent addition would be significant for a side whose second XI would probably have finished mid-table or better in this season's moribund Premiership.
Quoting Gomez again, City can come to the summer transfer window, check itself out in the mirror and lilt joyfully:
"All the things you’ll see
And the places you’ll go
All the people you meet
Everybody wants you
Or wants to be you."
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