Whilst Manchester City’s 2-4 victory over Chelsea this weekend grabbed the headlines due to the John Terry/Wayne Bridge saga. It may be overlooked the fact that Manchester City have the ability to not only get amongst the top four, but with a couple of key signings could secure the Premier League title next season. Where and who they should be is open for debate, though clearly defence is something Manchester City will need to address. As drastic as this sounds and the money spent, I believe Man City need pretty much a new backline. Yet again.
Joleon Lescott and Kolo Toure just have not performed to a standard set by the owners and management of the Eastland’s side. OK there can be reasons, Lescott in particular has had injury problems and that has clearly affected his game. Furthermore they are both new to the club and having time to bed in and gain an understanding is required. These are arguments I can subscribe to, but not when you earn the astronomical amounts of money these two slap in the bank weekly and the price tags they had. Lescott cost anywhere from £22-£24 million depending on different sources. That’s the most expensive joke I’ve ever heard. Whilst I think the lad is a good player I could not understand David Moyes and Everton’s frustrations upon selling the Lescott at that price. Over the odds just doesn’t even come close. Toure cost a princely £16 million, but again he has not been the same player for a number of years now since his youth at Arsenal.
I admired Mark Hughes policy of buying Premier League players, it did not work out quite right for him but his train of thought was right. Buy players with the experience of the league and not big name players from abroad who may struggle initially. Liverpool’s Alberto Aquilani springs to mind, he is one who has not exactly set the world alight. In fairness to Liverpool and manager Rafa Benitez, they are always going to get more time than any signing Mark Hughes was. Aquilani will be given time to make something of himself at Anfield. Hughes knew he had to finish top four and needed instant success. Signing high priced imports was too much of a gamble. Yet somehow with all the top four Premier League experience, (Tevez, Adebayor and Toure) it just didn’t click.
With Hughes promptly booted out, Manchester City turned to Roberto Mancini. Since the change in management their form swings from the sublime to the shocking within the space of each game. Against Stoke midweek in the FA Cup they were by far the better team until Adebayor’s sending off. In the 2nd half against Chelsea on Saturday City were sharp, quick and clinical against one of the best sides in Europe. Yet against Stoke in the Premier League only last week they were as awful as I’ve seen them all season.
Maybe this is all the traits we should expect from what is basically a brand new team still gelling, so maybe my criticisms of Lescott and Toure for example may be too quick to judge and I can accept such an opinion. But Manchester City will never win the Premier League with Lescott and Toure at centre back. Arsenal couldn’t win the Premier League with William Gallas and Kolo Toure at centre back so what chances has Lescott got over a far superior William Gallas. Additionally whilst we all as football fans, apart from absolutely atrocious Chelsea crew booing Wayne Bridge on Saturday are all behind the Manchester City player. Left back is a serious problem for City. Sylvinho is too old and Wayne Bridge is just not good enough. For a team who next season will be looking to challenge for the title, they are weak across the entire back line. Make no mistake the mega rich owners upon gaining a fourth spot will next want the Premier League top spot next season.
Who could City turn to or persuade to join the revolution. It appears more and more likely that expensive foreign imports will be the way, especially if Roberto Mancini is kept on. A rumour as to Manchester United’s Nemanja Vidic seems very farfetched, yet he is exactly what City need. A vocal centre back that has had experience at winning trophies, consistently. A real leader at the back. Whilst no-one could ever doubt Shay Given’s agility and shot stopping ability, he does not control his box as well as some would like and a vocal leader at centre back could solve this problem.
The Juventus and Italian international Giorgio Chiellini is interesting City, who at only 25 years of age has risen to high prominence and stock in his native Italy. Believed to have become disenchanted with life at Juventus after the clubs recent poor form, a move to Manchester City could tempt the player. Roberto Mancini is known to be a keen admirer for the no-nonsense centre back who can also operate on the left. Again he is a vocal and strong leader in Italy and would offer the attributes Manchester City seem to be lacking at the back of the field.
Manchester City this season will happily take a bridesmaid role, that was the aim above all else. Fourth spot. Next season though and with a summer of spending sure to take place at Eastlands, a title challenge will be required. At the back is where they should start and Chiellini could be the answer.
Who do you think Manchester City should sign to make a title challenge next season?
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