With a first major piece of silverware in 35 years, and their highest league finish since the 1976-77 season, can Manchester City be considered genuine title contenders? Obviously they have the financial muscle to compete in the transfer market, and with the lure of Champions League football, unbelievable salaries, and a very exciting project to embark on, Man City have the potential to become one of the most formidable footballing teams in Europe.
The problem with Man City, which has occurred time and time again, is the lack of continuity at the top, and according to recent reports the cracks have begun to show, with Roberto Mancini under intense pressure from chief executive Garry Cook, and director of football Brian Marwood , who are unwilling to fund another summer of spending – this of course having more implications than just affecting the squad for next season, but also jeopardising City’s future forays into the transfer market, with the new financial fair play rules set to come into full effect in 2014.
If Man City are to fulfil their massive potential they need to spend again over the summer, although this season has been hugely successful for Roberto Mancini’s men, there are still some areas that will need addressing if Man City are to mount a serious challenge for the Premier League crown. While City have one of the best defensive records this season and the most clean sheets in the league, thanks in no small part to the efforts of Joe Hart and Vincent Kompany , it is their defence which will need the most reinforcements.
Aleksandar Kolarov has struggled to acclimatise to life in the Premier League and the suspension of Kolo Toure will also be problematic for the Blues, even though he will be available for selection in September it is unrealistic to expect him to come straight into the squad given his lack of match fitness. As well as the future, and fitness of Jerome Boateng being unclear, and the inexperience of Dedryck Boyata, City would appear to have no cover for their centre half position, should Lescott or Kompany get injured or suspended.
City’s strongest area on the pitch is their midfield, and it is deep enough that it should be able to cope with the twin demands of Domestic and European competitions, and the fact that most of their midfield players are capable of covering most positions, they are more than equipped in that area. The forward role has been a problem area for City all season, and although they play with one striker, usually Carlos Tevez, they do not appear to be able to fill that gap when their influential skipper is injured, as he was for the 5 games following the Liverpool game, when they were left with only two senior, inconsistent strikers who managed one goal between them in this time.
Edin Dzeko seems to have struggled since January and although it is unfair to pass judgement on him until he has played a full season, he has only scored 4 goals in 19 appearances in all competitions, and what more can be said about the enigmatic Mario Balotelli ? His performances seem to flicker between the incredible and the incredulous, with his wonder strike against Aston Villa in the FA Cup and his red mist moment against Dynamo Kyiv in the Europa League, but his goals to games ratio is not to be sniffed at with 10 goals in 26 appearances in all competitions. But the fear that still looms for all City fans is if Tevez does decide to leave in the summer, they are going to have to find another striker to cover his 23 goals a season.
Manchester City are now at a crossroads, either the hierarchy let Mancini get on with his job and back him in the transfer market, or watch the foundations of such a promising season crumble beneath their feet, and start the rebuilding process all over again which will leave them in a very undesirable position. City cannot afford to stand still over the summer, because they can rest assured that the teams around them will not.
Read more of Steven Adams’ articles at This is Futbol