Transfer deadline day is often a bit of a blur. A full day of rolling news channels obsessing over the tiniest of details and online polls hijacked by Liverpool fans. Why clubs leave their business until the last minute is a mystery to many, but, like it or not, the fanfare of deadline day is now a significant part of the football calendar.
For Manchester City, this summer’s deadline day was somewhat frustrating, with Alvaro Negredo leaving the club without a replacement lined up to take his place in the squad. Interest in Radamel Falcao, whose virtuosity will now be on display at Old Trafford with Manchester United, came to nothing, and City are arguably weaker than when the day began.
Add to that the emotional exit of the club’s longest-serving player and academy graduate Micah Richards and the club’s inability to find a new home for Scott Sinclair, and there are a large number who feel this has been City’s most disappointing deadline day since the one during the ill-fated summer of 2012.
The attacking players in their squad are so versatile and adept at operating a variety of systems and positions that Manuel Pellegrini still probably feels he has enough options going forward, regardless of Negredo’s exit. David Silva and Yaya Toure both excel in the No.10 role and they will now have more opportunities to play there.
Whichever way you look at it, though, City have lost goals and not replaced them.
However, lost in all the talk of Falcao and Negredo was the club’s failure to offload Matija Nastasic, a situation many City fans are more than happy to accept. The Serbian has so far failed to impress Pellegrini, with the City boss admitting after the club’s 2-0 opening-weekend win over Newcastle that he was surplus to requirements, as reported by Stuart Brennan at the Manchester Evening News.
There was reportedly interest from a host of clubs, but a deal which suited both City and Nastasic could not be reached, and the 21-year-old will now remain at the Etihad until January, at least. It means City have four quality centre-backs for the coming campaign, with Eliaquim Mangala set to come into contention after the international break and complement Martin Demichelis, Vincent Kompany and Nastasic.
Most people struggled to understand the wisdom of allowing Nastasic to leave. His status as an under-21 player for this season means he does not impinge on the Premier league quota system, and despite his downturn in form last season he had shown plenty of promise during his debut year at the club.
He’s now been given a reprieve, an opportunity to show Pellegrini he can be a top-class defender for years to come.
His form last year was poor, not helped by a mysterious knee injury that disrupted his progress and kept him sidelined for large parts of the campaign. Pellegrini can be forgiven for doubting his ability on the evidence of what he saw last year.
However, those who saw him effortlessly dislodge Joleon Lescott from the first team 12 months early with a string of wonderfully mature and technically proficient performances feel Nastasic has more to give—that his time at City is far from over. Whether he will get the chance to prove that before the next transfer window remains in great doubt, but there are many at City who will be hoping it happens.
Talented young defenders are few and far between in Europe and City, some believe, have one in their midst. The problem City face now is how Nastasic will react knowing he was made surplus to requirements by his manager. As votes of no confidence go, there are few more damning than that.
Rob Pollard is Bleacher Report's lead Manchester City correspondent and will be following the club from a Manchester base throughout the 2014-15 season. Follow him on Twitter here: @RobPollard_