Manchester City has enjoyed a rather calm pre-season despite the Financial Fair Play regulations placed upon them by UEFA, which has limited the club’s spending.
Rather like Manchester United did under Sir Alex Ferguson, Manchester City has looked at weaknesses within their squad and identified players efficiently. Eliaquim Mangala and Fernando, both formerly of FC Porto, were on the Premier League champions’ radar last January with the Brazilian midfielder almost making the move then.
City was forced to wait until the summer on both counts but has now added necessary quality both in defense and in midfield. Despite Javi Garcia’s obvious talents, there was always a feeling Manchester City was never the right fit for him and breaking into a midfield containing Yaya Toure and Fernandinho would be difficult for most.
Fernando is a far more mobile and aggressive holding midfielder who can interchange positions with the pair just in front of him, which will give City an even more fluid look than last term.
The addition of Frank Lampard on loan is a strange move, one which has been publicly questioned by Arsene Wenger with regards to Financial Fair Play given the fact Lampard joins Pellegrini’s side on a loan deal from Manchester City’s own club in MLS, New York City FC.
It is difficult to see how the former Chelsea icon will fit into a City midfield full to the brim with stars. However with Gareth Barry having left the club, Lampard is registered as a home-grown player.
It seems rather foolish to say this given Pellegrini has Aguero, Dzeko, Jovetic and Alvaro Negredo in his squad, but going forward you still worry for Manchester City.
Aguero’s fitness is questionable in the long-term given the amount of muscle injuries the Argentine has suffered in the last 12 months whilst Negredo will be out until at least October with a foot injury. This puts a lot of pressure on Dzeko and Jovetic, two players not particularly well known for their consistency.
Jovetic missed a large part of last season with numerous injuries and has impressed during pre-season, netting five goals which has given both the player and supporters confidence going into the new campaign.
Jovetic’s injury history is a worry however and it wouldn’t be a surprise if City added a forward on loan before the transfer window closed, especially with John Guidetti expected to rejoin Feyenoord after a hugely successful loan spell at De Kuip in 2011-12.
Manchester City has immense quality and an increasing strength in depth. However fighting for glory on four fronts is likely to cause Pellegrini difficulties later in the season once again.
The club’s focus is certainly on European success given the money spent over the past few summers as well as on the handful of new contracts given to City’s elite names over the past two weeks.
Given how well Chelsea has recruited. And the fact City will have a focus on the Champions League, it is difficult to see the champions retaining their crown this season.