I'm going to start off with somewhat of a revelation: Manchester City does not need to spend big massive amounts of money this summer. Manchester City has the tools in hand to have a solid squad.
Also, Manchester City has one of, if not the, top English Premier League youth academies (they just were the 2008 FA Youth Cup Champions)
However, Manchester City often suffers from a lack of depth, consistency, and chemistry. I believe the chemistry will come with time. By having so many players rumored in and out of the club, I would not be surprised if the locker room is a little antsy.
Also, as Mark Hughes gets used to his new players, he will be able to find what position on the field works best. He has started to do so already.
Now I will break down the keys to future Manchester City success by first finding the holes in the team, then deciding who should be let go, finding those who can be brought up from the youth academy, and finally finding who should be bought and at what position.
Part I: Holes
Manchester City has the fifth best offense in the Premiership. Only Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea, and Manchester United have scored more goals. However, as the saying goes: defense wins championship.
All of these teams, except Manchester City, have the top ranked defenses in the Premiership. Manchester City is only ranked 10th.
It's clear where the needs are.
Micah Richards has had a very sub-par season, and this has caused concern for many Man City fans. However, he is only twenty years old. I have no doubt that he will regain form next year and be a starting right-back for years to come.
The same goes for Nigerian Onuoha. He is also only 22 and has a bright future ahead of him.
The real problems in the back lie with Richard Dunne and Wayne Bridge. Man City has a very fast and athletic squad. Dunne and Bridge just can't seem to keep up. Even though, they are often solid at the center back and left back positions, they do not fit into the new style of Man City play.
Also, if one of the players in the back four are injured, there are few to replace them. Depth is a big concern here.
The midfield is one of Manchester City's best positions. With Ireland at a center attacking role, Kompany and de Jong at defensive roles, and Wright-Phillips and Elano as wingers; we have a great group of players.
At the forward position, we have a lot of depth, but not a lot of quality. Of the seven forwards on the squad, only three have managed to score more than a goal. If it wasn't for outstanding efforts from Robinho and the midfield, Manchester City would not have nearly as potent of an offense.
Part II: Offloading
The primary position that need offloading is the striker position. There is a lot of unneeded money being spent there. Darius Vassell, Valeri Bojinov, and Benjani have a combined 132 caps between them. However, they only have 21 goals between them. It is apparent that they have been given time to succeed and have not delivered.
In the midfield, Martin Petrov is old and ineffective for Manchester City. With the depth of the team, he is just taking up space. He needs to be allowed to continue elsewhere. The same goes for 35 year old Dietmarr Hamann.
In the back, we have a lot of youth. Therefore we should give them a chance to succeed. However, Richard Dunne is already rumored to leave. This should not be that much of a blow, because he has been out of form. Michael Ball and Danny Mills are also aging players that have little or no future with the Citizens.
Manchester City may still be able to get a fair amount of money off these players by transferring them to lower teams like Sunderland, Bolton, or Hull City.
Part III: Youth are the Future
The Manchester City youth squad are the FA Youth Cup Champions. It is clear that the guys have the talent, now it is up to Mark Hughes to give them a chance at first team football.
19-year old Slovakian starlet Vladamir Weiss was the driving force behind the youth's FA Cup run. He skill set has been compared to that of Cristiano Ronaldo. He has quick feet, great passing, and can whip in free kicks with the best of them. It is only a matter of time before he makes an impact with the first team.
Adam Clayton, Ben Mee, and Ryan McGivern are also youth wonderkids that could really make an impact coming off the bench next year. They should be given a chance. With the success of youth team products like Stephen Ireland and Daniel Sturridge, why not?
Part IV: Incoming Transfers
Everyone's favorite part. The footballing world is buzzing with rumors. It seems as if every top player in the footballing world has been linked with a move to Man City. I'm going to be a rare realist in the situation.
As show previously in the article, there are only a few key areas where we need to potentially spend big money. Though, we have young youth in Sturridge and Kelvin Etuhu. We need immediate effectiveness from our attack.
By bringing in a top out-and-out box predator, we can further fortify the attack. A tall striker who can head the ball would also be a perfect compliment to Robinho, Sturridge, or Bellamy. There are few of those out there already, and even less of them are for sale.
Mario Balotelli of Inter Milan would be an outstanding player for Man City because he is aggressive and skillful. 6' 2" striker Roque Santa Cruz is also a very effective striker that is eager to leave Blackburn. He has scored 23 goals in 57 appearances, with little or no help.
Obafemi Martins of Newcastle, Negredo of Spanish club Almeria, Diego Forlan of Atletico Madrid, Andre-Pierre Gignac of Toulouse, Karim Benzema of Lyon, Batefimbi Gomis of St. Etienne, and Mario Gomez of VFB Stuttgart are some of the players that would fit nicely.
In the midfield, I honestly believe that Man City need no changes. Ireland was one of the candidate for FA Young Player of the year, Kompany and de Jong are very extraordinary players that can play both defensively and attack, Wright-phillips and Elano are very quick on the wings.
We also have upcoming Vladamir Weiss. They also have good young players in Ched Evans and Michael Johnson (hailed as the next Gerrard).
However if I had to choose, I would say Mark Hughes should get another quick winger like Alexis Sanchez or Bastian Schweinsteiger to run at defenses.
In the back, I would add a centre-back first and foremost to replace Dunne. By looking at a team like Manchester United or Chelsea, it is apparent that this is one of the most important positions on the field. City needs a tall strong defender to compliment Onuoha, such as Andre Barzagli or Salvatore Bochetti
I hope this article helped you see that Manchester City has a very strong squad, despite popular belief. The main problem isn't talent, but the consistency. By relieving some baggage, and inserting key players at a specific few key positions, Manchester can make a run at a Champion's League spot next year.
I guarantee it.
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