Man City 2014/15 transfer review
Manchester City scored more than 150 goals in Manuel Pellegrini’s debut season in England but they looked vulnerable at the back. The City hierarchy consequently focused on strengthening the defensive areas during last summer.
Key players out
Gareth Barry had a successful loan spell at Everton the season before this one but City did not really need the former Aston Villa midfielder as they had Fernandinho and Fernando in their ranks so a permanent move for the veteran midfielder seemed logical.
Javi Garcia and Jack Rodwell also failed to pose serious threats to the likes of Yaya Toure and David Silva in more advanced midfield positions so parting ways with the pair looked good for both the players’ futures and the club as City pocketed £23m from the transfers.
Pellegrini may have a tinge of regret about letting Joleon Lescott go for free. The West Brom defender is reasonably quick and he formed a good centre back partnership with Vincent Kompany.
But the City boss highly rates technical ability in his players and Lescott is not very good in possession so his departure may have been inevitable.
Key players signed
Since Pellegrini does not trust Pablo Zabaleta in one-on-one situations against accomplished dribblers, City turned to Bacary Sagna as a back-up right-back. On top of deputising for Zabaleta, Sagna could also start ahead of the Argentine when City faced players like Barcelona’s Neymar, Chelsea’s Eden Hazard or Bayern Munich’s Frank Ribery. For a free agent, Sagna was a decent scoop for the Citizens.
Fernando also joined the club to offer better protection to the central defenders than Fernandinho. The downside to starting with the Brazilian is his limited offensive contribution compared to Fernandinho. With Fernandinho in the side, City pose a bigger offensive threat as his passing range is much better.
Fernando may not have significantly strengthened City but for £12m he cannot be classed as a bad signing.
The most important summer signing was Eliaquim Mangala. The French centre-back epitomises a modern defender: quick, powerful and an impressive athlete for a 24-year-old.
The £40m centre-half was supposed to form a solid defensive partnership with Vincent Kompany but Mangala has not settled well as a City player.
He needs to improve his awareness because he frequently relies on his pace to get him out of trouble, plus he can be too forceful in the box, risking penalties in the process. Mangala has been a huge disappointment for such an expensive player.
Midway through the season, City were having problems matching their offensive firepower so they splashed £28m on Wilfried Bony to try to add goals in the team. Bony is a powerful striker whose finishing is decent and who can drop to link up play with midfielders.
City are yet to benefit from those qualities as the Ivorian striker struggled to make an immediate impact after returning from the Africa Cup of Nations. A couple of injuries also affected Bony as he managed only two starts and two goals. More is expected of the 26-year-old forward who has had a disappointing start to his City career.
Financial Fair Play issues limited Manchester City’s net expenditure as they spent 50 per cent less than in the 2013/14 season. Still, for a side that spent a net amount of £60m, their transfer business could have been better. The recent additions have done very little to improve the side.