The rather surprising form of Leicester City this season has been truly remarkable and one of the stories of the Premier League.
Fans of those who are removed for the title race marvel at their exploits, and rightly so, but perhaps the good feeling surrounding the Foxes masks the utter inadequacy of their title rivals.
Take Manchester City for example, a hugely expensive squad packed to the rafters with top quality talent, and they trail behind Jamie Vardy and co. That is not to say Leicester do not deserve to be in contention, but those behind the scenes at the Etihad are surely racking their brains as to how this has happened.
Granted, the club are still well within the race to land a second title in three seasons, and a third in five, but considering the money spent this season alone, they have been shocking at times.
So, what can City do to ensure they win the Premier League? Well signing any of these five bold transfer suggestions might help…
Neither Gael Clichy or Aleksandar Kolarov have truly been able to convince they are of the required standard to play for a team with the ambitions City have, though the Serb often gets the nod.
While he’s a threat going forward, the 30-year old defensive abilities are often found wanting and can certainly be upgraded upon.
It’s been notoriously difficult to land world class left-backs over the past few seasons, simply due to the dearth in options. However, Swiss international and Wolfsburg star Ricardo Rodriguez has established himself as one of the top defenders in European football over the past couple of seasons.
He takes his defensive abilities very seriously and has demonstrated a finely tuned reading of the game while in Germany. Going forward, the 23-year old is a sight to be marvelled when surging up the left flank and whipping in a cross with pinpoint accuracy.
Sergio Aguero is without doubt one of the finest strikers in the world when fully fit, but that’s becoming increasingly less frequent. Wilfried Bony really hasn’t shown the form that prompted Manuel Pellegrini to splash around £30m on him in almost a year.
The gulf in class between the Argentine and the Ivorian is simply too vast given the former’s injury record. Gone are the days where the club could field any one of Edin Dzeko, Stevan Jovetic or Alvaro Negredo in his absence, the Chilean coach needs to find someone to bridge that gap.
Moving for Inter Milan’s Mauro Icardi could be just the tonic. The 22-year old is an excellent striker on his day, finishing joint top scorer in Serie A last term with an impressive 31 goal haul.
A centre-forward in an old fashioned sense, he’s an excellent long term option while also possessing many of the tools needed to compete at the very top right now.
He might not be Paul Pogba or Isco, but either of those two are presumably far too expensive to be on the move this January. So, Sevilla’s Ever Banega could be a more astute option to shore up the ranks in the engine room this winter.
The Argentine is a supreme passer of the ball with a wealth of top level experience through his time at Boca Juniors, Valencia and now Sevilla.
Manuel Pellegrini was reportedly impressed with the exploits of the 27-year old during their recent meetings in the Champions League and there’s certainly room for the Argentina international.
He’s a classy operator and could link with David Silva while either joining Yaya Toure and Fernandinho in midfield, or pairing either of the two.
Any move for Cesc Fabregas would be a pretty shocking one, though that hasn’t stopped the deal being mooted as a potential switch.
The Spaniard, despite his well-documented struggles later on in seasons, is an excellent midfielder in whatever role he is given. The thought of seeing him link with up with the likes of David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne is truly mouth-watering.
He may not be at his best right at Chelsea, but who is? The World Cup winner is as classy as they come and could be the ideal man to replace the ageing Yaya Toure. Not the same player by any means, but a midfielder of stature to help the club win major honours.
Everton should be commended for their ability to hold off Chelsea in the summer as they constantly rebuffed the Premier League champions for the 21-year old sensation. However, surely the England international will one-day move to an elite club.
That is not to do the Toffees a disservice, but the hype surrounding the star at such a young age will surely one day earn him a lucrative move to a club challenging for league titles at home and abroad.
To say signing Stones would be a coup sounds rather odd as the Merseyside outfit are understood to have rejected bids in the summer of over £30m. Still, his addition would signal a huge statement of intent that City are serious players in European football.
Without Vincent Kompany, the defence crumbles. Stones has a remarkable knack for being in the right place at the right time, marshalling a defence and taking the ball up field.
All attributes the Etihad outfit desperately crave in the absence of their captain.
He’s expensive, but if any club has the resources to buy him, it’s Manchester City.