Eight Moves Manchester City Must Make to Get Into the Champions League
Manchester City has always been regarded as one of the better teams in the English Premier League, but not good enough to win an UEFA Championship.
Last season, the team placed fifth in the English Premier League, a solid but not stellar performance.
During the summer transfer window, the team, lead by manager Roberto Mancini and its new wealthy owners from Abu Dhabi, have made many aggressive moves to dispel their critics.
Although the window is not yet over, the team has already secured the rights to David Silva (£25 million), Yaya Toure (£25 million), Jerome Boateng (£15 million), and most recently Alexander Kolarov (£19 million).
Overall, the team has spent nearly £90 million on transfer targets. Even with these big four signings, the team still needs to make additional moves should it want to secure a place in the UEFA Champions League.
On the next slides are eight additional moves Manchester City should make. Please feel free to comment and let me know your thoughts.
Sign Mario Balotelli
According to multiple reports, Manchester City is on the verge of signing Mario Balotelli for £24 million.
The 19-year-old Inter Milan striker was keen on either joining Chelsea or Manchester City during the summer transfer window. Balotelli has scored 29 goals during the last three seasons, including six during Cups and Supercups.
If Chelsea tries to make an 11th hour push for Balotelli, Man City must do whatever is necessary to make sure Balotelli doesn't change his mind.
Players talented at this young of an age don't come often and with a great midfielder behind him, Balotelli can develop into one of the world's best strikers.
Sign Landon Donovan
After a stellar run during the 2010 FIFA World Cup, Landon Donovan has solidified himself as one of the best strikers in the world.
Although Donovan says he is content with the LA Galaxy and Everton, many people believe Donovan will be playing somewhere else next season.
There is no doubt Roberto Mancini is interested in Donovan. Reports surfaced this week that Manchester City sent scouts to all four of Donovan's cup matches.
Adding Donovan would provide Eastlands with yet another potent scoring threat to complement Carlos Tevez and Robhino.
Donovan makes the other players around him better, especially his midfielders. The team already has one of the best midfields in the world and adding Donovan would only accentuate this strength.
For a fee rumored to be 12-15 million, Mancini can sign one of the best team players in all of soccer.
Loan Emmanuel Adebayor to Juventus
With the recent acquisition of David Silva, there is longer a need for Manchester City to hold onto Emmanuel Adebayor for next season.
If the team is able to clinch a deal for Inter Milan's Mario Balotelli, Eastlands should be willing to loan Adebayor. Juventus is considered their front-runner for Adebayor if he becomes available.
Adebayor's stock is as high as ever, having scored 14 goals for Man City in 26 appearances last season. Before joining Eastlands, Abedayor scored 46 goals over the course of three seasons for Arsenal.
Loaning Abedayor would allow Mancini to keep another player such as Shaun Wright Phillips in Eastland and would also allow Abedayor to start for another squad, instead of sitting on the bench.
Resist the Urge To Sign James Milner
According to the London Guardian, Aston Villa wants Stephen Ireland and hefty cash considerations (£25-30 million) from Manchester City in exchange for James Milner.
If Mancini were smart, he would resist the temptation to sign Milner. Although Milner has excelled in the midfield for New Castle and Aston Villa, he doesn't fit into the diamond formation Manchini is expected to use.
There is no guarantee Milner will put up comparable numbers in this formation, so in many ways this acquisition is a £25m gamble.
Keep Stephen Ireland
In addition, Stephen Ireland is one of the most underrated players in the EPL.
Even with only 16 appearances last season and controversy on the International level, Ireland has been a fixture in the team's midfield and will excel with the team's new signings.
Ireland is a homegrown talent and teams should always give additional considerations to players developed in their own systems.
Money is not an issue for Manchester City but the team should not look to waste its money on players not really needed.
Splurge for Ramires
According to the London Daily Mirror, Manchester City is interested in signing Ramires from Benfica, but it looks like Chelsea will steal the Brazillian star.
Benfica has reportedly asked for a £30 million fee for Ramires, but ESPN Soccernet is reporting a deal with Chelsea will be finalized for around £20 million.
As long as the deal isn't completely finalized, Manchester City should consider offering Benfica its £30 million asking fee and steal Ramires in the 11th hour.
Yes, I know the chances of this happening are slim to none, but Ramires is perhaps the best midfield talent that would fit into Mancini's scheme.
Ramires has proven himself, both on the club and international level. He is a tenacious midfielder with great speed and stamina and has a knack for setting up goal scoring opportunities.
Mancini would be taking less of a risk signing Ramires than Milner and if by some miracle he were able to steal him away, it would solidify Man City as one of the best teams in the world.
Retain Shaun Wright-Phillips
Although Manchester City signed David Silva, the team should not release Shawn Wright-Philips, even though he had a less than stellar World Cup.
Last season, Wright-Philips began to enter Mancini's doghouse and fell out of the starting lineup on many occasions.
Even though Wright-Phillips has struggled during the last six months, he is one of the toughest players in the EPL.
Wright-Phillips has ended his vacation early to practice and prove a spot in City's starting 11.
"My only focus is to get on the pitch and do my thing. I am delighted to be back with the lads and straight into the banter," Wright-Phillips said.
Keeping Shaun Wright-Phillips may not be easy for Mancini considering the numerous roster cuts he has to make but Wright-Phillips has the potential to make an impact in championship games, even if he comes off the bench.
Let Wayne Bridge Go
According to the Daily Mirror, Roy Hodgson is extremely interested in acquiring Wayne Bridge to play left back.
Just this week, Manchester City acquired Aleksandar Kolarov to play left back for £17 million.
Eastlands would be wasting its money should it allow Kolarov and Bridge to share playing time.
To give Kolarov the playing time he deserves, the team must part ways with Bridge. Both players have similar styles but Kolarov is a better scorer, making him worth more than Bridge.
Sending Bridge to Liverpool would allow Man City to profit from depth in the midfield and would make Roy Hodgson one happy guy.