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Grading Manchester City's Transfer Window Signings

Mark JonesFeatured ColumnistSeptember 3, 2014

Grading Manchester City's Transfer Window Signings

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    Clive Mason/Getty Images

    After a controlled win over Newcastle and a ruthless dispatching of Liverpool, Manchester City's defence of the Premier League title had got off to the perfect start.

    Then Stoke came to the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.

    However, the shock 1-0 defeat didn't persuade manager Manuel Pellegrini to rush into making a signing on transfer deadline day, with the only business conducted by the club seeing Alvaro Negredo, Micah Richards and Emyr Huws all head for the exit door.

    Was that the right decision? Time will tell, but Pellegrini will doubtless be happy with the six summer signings he made for the champions.

    Here, we take a look at just who came through City's window:

Bacary Sagna

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    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    From: Arsenal

    Cost: Free

    History: One of the Premier League's leading right-backs ever since moving to Arsenal from Auxerre in 2007—and subsequently being voted into the division's PFA Team of the Year twice—Frenchman Bacary Sagna was undoubtedly one of the best free transfers on the market this summer, and City snapped him up.

    Sagna only had May's FA Cup success to show for his seven years at the Gunners in terms of trophies, but his athleticism and ability to support the attack meant that he quickly became a huge hit with his club's fans. The 31-year-old has 42 caps for his country.

    Good signing? Yes and no. It's always good to have top-quality players in your squad battling over the same position, but there are those who have argued that City could have brought in a younger right-back to challenge Pablo Zabaleta.

     

    Grading: B+

Fernando

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    Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

    From: Porto

    Cost: £12 million

    History: Known as "The Octopus" in Portugal for his ability to get around the centre of the pitch as though he has eight legs, defensive midfielder Fernando won four league titles in six seasons with Porto before his summer move to City.

    The 27-year-old was born in Brazil but has never been capped by his country, something that could open up the possibility of him playing for Portugal after he switched his allegiance to the country that was his home for so long back in March.

    Good signing? Yes. Yaya Toure's powers will eventually go on the wane, and while Fernandinho had a good debut season at City, he is arguably a little more useful further forward. The possibility of playing those two as well as Fernando in the same midfield should give City a better chance of success in the Champions League this season, although the new man's disciplinary record will have to improve.  

     

    Grading: A-

Willy Caballero

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    Kyle Rivas/Getty Images

    From: Malaga

    Cost: £4.4 million

    History: After three years at Boca Juniors, Argentinean goalkeeper Willy Caballero made his name in Europe after a move to La Liga club Elche in 2004.

    Seven years later he was brought to Malaga by Manuel Pellegrini, who signed him again this summer to provide experienced and quality backup to Joe Hart following the departure of Costel Pantilimon. 

    Good signing? It's always difficult to get the signing of a backup goalkeeper right, and Caballero would probably have come to City with designs on immediately taking the No. 1 shirt from Hart. His performance in the Community Shield loss to Arsenal will hardly have filled City fans with confidence, however, and another Pantilimon situation may well be looming after Hart's error against Stoke.

     

    Grading: B-

Frank Lampard

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    Craig Ruttle/Associated Press

    From: New York City FC

    Cost: Loan until January

    History: A Premier League icon, Frank Lampard is Chelsea's all-time record goalscorer, a three-time winner of the Premier League, a Champions League winner and a holder of 106 England caps.

    His place among the game's elite midfielders was unquestioned for the latter part of the 2000s and into the current decade, as he developed a reputation for being in the right place at the right time and scoring some crucial goals for both club and country.

    Good signing? Before he can live out his American Dream, Lampard must first become a City slicker.

    The 36-year-old's loan move to the Etihad Stadium came as a surprise to everyone including him. While it remains to be seen just how much playing time he'll get under Pellegrini before he heads off to City's sister club in the MLS, he is undoubtedly a good character to have around the place and one who—crucially—will help City stay within their Financial Fair Play regulations.

     

    Grading: B-

Eliaquim Mangala

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    Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images

    From: Porto

    Cost: £31.9 million

    History: Still just 23, Eliaquim Mangala honed both his central-defensive prowess and his physique in Belgium, where he played for Standard Liege before moving on to Porto in 2011.

    At both clubs he demonstrated his power and a decent goalscoring record on the way to winning the Belgian title and two Portuguese league crowns, which all led to him becoming a member of France's squad at this summer's World Cup.

    Good signing? Yes. Clearly Pellegrini has wanted Mangala on board for a while, and this addition helps City out in an area of the pitch where Martin Demichelis received plenty of criticism last season, even though he improved substantially in the Premier League title run-in.

     

    Grading: A-

Bruno Zuculini

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    Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

    From: Racing Club

    Cost: £1.5 million

    History: Bruno Zuculini has been a bright spark in the Racing Club side that has impressed in the Argentina Primera Division in recent seasons. The 21-year-old Argentina Under-20 international brings another welcoming dash of youth to City's summer signings, even if he has been immediately loaned out to Valencia in La Liga for this season.

    Good signing? One for the future. Hopefully the midfielder blossoms during his time on loan in Spain and can return next season to take his place in a City midfield that could do with a splash of youth, and in which he impressed during the club's pre-season tour of the U.S.

     

    Grading: B, with potential for an A+

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