Manchester City: 6 Reasons Why EPL Champs Won the Summer Transfer Window
You do not have to land a star striker like Robin van Persie to have the league’s best transfer window result.
Securing a stud midfielder in the manner of Eden Hazard certainly improves a club. But one impact signing is not the way to “win” the window.
Manchester City did not close August by overpaying for a “name” like David Villa. Instead, City did what well-run football clubs do at transfer time: they identified and addressed their needs.
Vincent Kompany and Joleon Lescott have been given the reinforcements they need.
The acquisitions of Douglas Maicon and Matija Nastasic, while not “Clint Dempsey and Moussa Dembele to Tottenham Hotspur” splashy, were exactly what Roberto Mancini’s side longed for.
In City’s past four Premier League fixtures (counting the Community Shield), they have yielded two goals each time. It makes for exciting football for neutral fans, but it is no way for a team with City’s aspirations to conduct business.
Maicon should see regular time quickly. Nastasic, 19, is more likely to be worked in over time. And, harsh but true, the departure of Stefan Savic is addition-by-subtraction for the Sky Blues.
Javi Garcia is the big prize for Mancini this weekend. The 25-year-old defensive midfielder, lately of Benfica, is seen as a likely replacement for Nigel de Jong (off to AC Milan.)
Garcia joins Jack Rodwell, 21, in City’s new and improved midfield. It would be folly to say that Garcia and Rodwell will play together at City for a long time. Sides like City can and do make changes for the now.
But it can be said that Garcia and Rodwell provide credible options in the midfield to ease some of the burden on Yaya Toure. Their presence may also free Toure to do what he is best at: easing forward into an attack position when City need more players in the box.
Sinclair will have the opportunity to earn time in the starting XI. Johnson had more chances than many were given. Ultimately, only Johnson is to blame for his one-dimensional play and inability to complement City’s star strikers.
If Sinclair can play effectively without the ball and make the likes of Carlos Tevez, Mario Balotelli and Edin Dzeko look good with proper service from the wing, he will play and play often.
The signing of Richard Wright consistently gets the final paragraph in analysis of City’s transfer deadline maneuvering.
Joe Hart will play until he cannot. Maybe Wright will never see the pitch this season. City would probably prefer it that way.
But as with quarterbacks in American football, the backup keeper is always one unfortunate injury from being the most important player on the squad.
Perhaps City have not seen enough they like from Costel Pantilimon to feel comfortable in the event that Hart misses time. Either way, having a reserve keeper with Wright’s experience around may prove useful.
Sum: Greater Than Parts
None of City’s individual transfer deals move the needle like van Persie, Hazard or the Dembele/Dempsey daily double does.
But City did not have the needs that Manchester United, Chelsea or Tottenham Hotspur did. City already had four strikers who would feature at almost every club in the EPL. City already had one of the league’s best midfielders in Yaya Toure, and perhaps its best keeper in Joe Hart.
What City needed was to get better at the back, and to get deeper.
The Champions League
Better at the back, because yielding multiple goals a game could ultimately cost City any chance of defending its EPL title.
Deeper, because City is concerned not only with the typically-grueling league slate. This side was assembled with a Champions League run in mind.
This week, City drew Real Madrid, Borussia Dormund and Ajax—i.e. the champions in Spain, the Netherlands and Germany—in the group stage of the Champions League. City failed to survive group play last season.
City’s defensive improvements and their newfound ability to roll out quality in numbers better prepare them for what promises to be a harrowing march to glory against the best professional sides in Europe.