Is Bernardo Silva under pressure after Mahrez’s arrival?

July 18, 2018 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Transfer Targets 

Pep Guardiola finally landed his man this summer, with Leicester City forward Riyad Mahrez making the long-awaited switch to Manchester City. The 27-year-old has been angling for a move away from the Etihad Stadium for some time, but Leicester wouldn’t let him leave for less than his asking price.

Guardiola has pursued Mahrez for nearly 12 months despite boasting an attack that contains Gabriel Jesus, Sergio Aguero, Raheem Sterling, Leroy Sane and Bernardo Silva., so where will the Algerian international feature for City?

Silva was in and out of the team last season due to the form of Sterling and Sane, coupled with his own inconsistency. He may find himself fall behind Mahrez in the pecking order, as there’s a reason Guardiola was willing to spend so much on the left-footed right-winger.

Mahrez is tried and tested in the Premier League

There’s no doubting Silva’s quality, but the 23-year-old hasn’t made the most convincing start in the Premier League. At Monaco, Silva would drift past players with ease and would create multiple chances for his teammates per game. His final season in Ligue 1 side saw him contribute 17 goals in 37 appearances, but his numbers are all considerably lower in England.

He’s scored and created 10 goals in 35 Premier League games, making fewer than one successful dribble per game and creating less than one chance per game. Silva has made 20 appearances from the bench, such is the lack of faith from Guardiola, but Mahrez will likely succeed where the Portuguese international has failed.

Mahrez is already a proven talent in the English top flight, winning a league title in 2016 where he was named PFA Players’ Player of the Year. He’s scored and created 59 goals in his last 109 games and has all the qualities to shine in a Guardiola side – off-the-ball movement, composure in possession, great range of passing and a good eye for goal.

Silva wasn’t a regular first-team player last season and his hopes of getting more game time in the senior squad will take a big hit thanks to Mahrez. The two players operate in similar roles on the pitch, cutting inside from the right to create a chance or have an effort at goal.

Mahrez has a better goal output than the player four years his junior and has been far more impressive in regard to his overall performances in the Premier League. It doesn’t appear Silva will be sold so soon, but Guardiola signing more competition in his position speaks volumes about his chances of regular playing time.

Gunn and Zinchenko could be moved on permanently by Man City this summer

June 29, 2018 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Transfer Rumors, Transfer Targets 

Manchester City goalkeeper Angus Gunn and midfielder Oleksandr Zinchenko could be sold this summer, with the pair having little chance of getting regular first-team football next season.

The Sky Blues could be selling and loaning out more players than they bring in this summer, but the money generated could help to get some big deals over the line.

Southampton would be good move for Gunn

Gunn spent 2017/18 out on loan with former side Norwich City and is unlikely to dethrone Ederson as first-choice ‘keeper under Pep Guardiola. Claudio Bravo should remain the Brazilian’s back-up next season, meaning Gunn will be forced to move to continue his development and it appears that a permanent deal looks on the cards rather than another loan.

Southampton are reported to be in talks with City over a £15m deal for the 22-year-old who has yet to make a first-team appearances for the Sky Blues. Gunn is highly-rated and kept a respectable 16 clean sheets during his loan spell with Norwich last season. He’s also been called up to the England national team, although he’s yet to make an appearance.

Gunn would be a loss to City given his obvious potential, but if game time is going to allude him in Manchester, he has to seek out assurances elsewhere. Southampton are well known for developing young talents and may well give Gunn a chance from the start next season due to their issues between the sticks.

Mark Hughes’ men conceded 56 goals in the Premier League last season. Alex McCarthy and Fraser Forster shared the goalkeeping responsibility. If a No.1 isn’t set in stone ahead of 2018/19, Gunn stands a chance of working his way up the pecking order.

Right move to sell Zinchenko

Further reports have suggested City midfielder Zinchenko is available for sale. The 21-year-old joined from Ufa in 2016, spent his debut season on loan at PSV Eindhoven before returning to his parent club and being used sparingly by Guardiola.

Zinchenko was often utilised as a makeshift left-back and left wing-back, a role that was previously alien to him as a central midfielder and chances were few and far between anyway. The Ukrainian international made just six Premier League starts last season, spending the majority of the campaign as an unused substitute or being left out of the matchday squad entirely.

City are believed to have received offers between £10m-£20m for his signature, but there’s no deal on the horizon with a suitor just yet. Zinchenko might be considering his future at the Etihad, as Benjamin Mendy, Danilo and Fabian Delph stand in his way at left-back, while Ilkay Gundogan, Kevin de Bruyne, Fernandinho and David Silva are ahead of him in the midfield pecking order.

If City can sell Gunn and Zinchenko for a good amount this summer, the money could be reinvested into transfer funds to help Jorginho’s move from Napoli and Riyad Mahrez’s move from Leicester City.

Still no progress being made by Manchester City on the transfer front

June 25, 2018 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Transfer Targets 

It’s been more than six weeks since the 2017/18 season came to a close and Manchester City are no closer to making their first signing of the summer.

Manager Pep Guardiola only has two transfer targets in mind – Jorginho from Napoli and Riyad Mahrez from Leicester City –  but he’s struggling to strengthen two areas the Sky Blues are weak in.

Lack of depth in midfield

Yaya Toure left the club at the end of his contract this summer and will be in need of replacing as City aren’t blessed with much depth in midfield. David Silva, Fernandinho and Kevin de Bruyne were regulars in the first-team last season, with Ilkay Gundogan providing adequate cover. Fabian Delph is also a midfield back-up, but he’s played more exclusively in defence under Guardiola.

City appear to have identified the player they want to come in for Toure – Napoli’s Jorginho. The Brazilian-born Italian international has made 160 appearances in all competitions for the Serie A giants and is one of the best central midfielders available in the summer transfer market.

Jorginho is a combative deep-lying player who is also composed in possession and able to create chances all over the pitch, so it’s easy to see why Guardiola is so keen to bring the player to the Etihad Stadium. Unfortunately, City and Napoli can’t agree on a transfer fee, says the Manchester Evening News, which is why there’s been no progress.

Another attacker wanted

And despite having Gabriel Jesus, Sergio Aguero, Raheem Sterling, Leroy Sane and Bernardo Silva in attack, City are after another forward player who can score and create goals. They’ve been after Riyad Mahrez since January, initially failing with a number of bids before giving up and trying again this summer.

Once again, the two clubs had been unable to agree to an asking price and The Sun say his move from the King Power Stadium to the Etihad was being held up due to his demand for a slice of the £75m deal. Guardiola has narrowed in on two players this summer, but both are being held up at the negotiating stage which won’t please supporters.

Time is running out for the Sky Blues to get the deals over the line too, as the summer transfer window shuts on Thursday, August 9 at 5pm, giving them just over five weeks to strengthen the squad for next season’s title defence – City won the Premier League title with 100 points last season.

 

 

Why are Manchester City so desperate to sign Jorginho from Napoli?

June 7, 2018 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Transfer Targets 

After Manchester City were reported to be in advanced talks with Napoli over Jorginho, president Aurelio De Laurentiis revealed on Sunday that they had rejected a £44m bid from the Sky Blues for the Italian international’s signature.

According to Sky Sports, City have been keen on Jorginho since April and could pay a lofty asking price to bring him to the Etihad Stadium this summer. With Kevin de Bruyne, David Silva, Fernandinho, Ilkay Gundogan and Fabian Delph as his options in midfield, why does Pep Guardiola want Jorginho so much?

A worthy replacement for Fernandinho

Guardiola has a lot of midfielders in the City squad, but there’s nobody who can replace Fernandinho. The Brazilian international protects the backline and snuffs out any danger in the middle of the park, while also threading attacks and retaining possession.

Signed from Shakhtar Donetsk in 2013, the 33-year-old has gone on to make 231 appearances in all competitions for City, winning two Premier League titles and three League Cups. Fernandinho was an unsung hero as the Sky Blues won the league title with 100 points last season. He averaged a tackle or interception every 26 minutes and made 88 passes-per-game with a 90% completion ratio.

Manchester City and Brazil midfielder Fernandinho.

He’s contracted with City until 2020 but Fernandinho is undoubtedly in the eve of his career and will need a long-term replacement. Jorginho looks to be that play. For Napoli, he sits in the middle of a midfield trio, protecting the backline without the ball and pulling the strings when in possession.

Like Fernandinho, Jorginho excels at turning over possession, averaging a tackle or interception every 24 minutes in the Serie A, but combative qualities aren’t solely enough for a Guardiola side – players need to be comfortable on the ball with speed of thought and good improvisation.

Qualities in possession make him a perfect fit for City

Jorginho isn’t just a defensive midfielder, he’s a player with fantastic vision who seldom relinquished possession. The Italian international always has his head up, looking for runs from his teammates. He can pick out any pass from nearly any distance and has the ability to put chances on a plate for others – creating 49 chances in 33 Serie A games last season.

At Napoli, Jorginho thrived having willing runners from wide areas to pick out when he was in possession. He’ll enjoy playing for Manchester City for the same reason. Guardiola’s men play direct when turning over possession to catch their opponent on the counter, utilising the pace from Raheem Sterling, Leroy Sane and Gabriel Jesus to turn defence into attack in seconds.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola is desperate to sign Jorginho.

And given City build their attacks from the back, often racking up a lot of passes in the middle third, having a player comfortable receiving the ball in tight areas and being able to improvise is essential. Jorginho is exactly that.

He racked up 97 passes-per-game on average for Napoli in Serie A last season, completing 90% of them. Guardiola might have to pay top dollar to secure his signature this summer, but he may be worth it.

Pep Guardiola only wants two additions to the Man City squad this summer

May 31, 2018 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Transfer Targets 

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola is reportedly only looking to make two signings this summer. After the Sky Blues won the Premier League title with 100 points, finishing 19 ahead of second place, it could be argued they barely need to strengthen.

Guardiola isn’t one to rest on his laurels, however, and will always be thinking ahead to ensure his squad is the strongest it can possibly be going into the season. He wants one replacement in every position in case of injury or a dip in form and there are two players on his shortlist who would complete City’s squad.

Mahrez will complete Man City’s attack

Leicester City forward Riyad Mahrez looks on his way to the Etihad Stadium and will join Raheem Sterling, Bernardo Silva and Leroy Sane in the attack. The Algerian international has been a long-term target of Guardiola’s and would certainly add to the squad.

The 27-year-old scored and created 22 goals in 36 Premier League games last season and could be a more tried-and-tested option than Bernardo Silva who was inconsistent in his debut season for City and started only 15 of his 35 appearances. Mahrez is an upgrade, based on their comparative performances in the league.

Jorginho will eventually replace Fernandinho

So, Mahrez will complete the attack and Jorginho might be completing City’s midfield. The Napoli star is expected to sign for the Sky Blues this summer and would be an immediate replacement for Yaya Toure who left at the end of the season and a long-term replacement for 33-year-old Fernandinho.

Jorginho is a defensive-minded player who averaged a tackle and interception every 24 minutes in the Serie A last season, while creating 49 chances and making 97 passes-per-game – completing 90% of them. It’s not hard to see why Guardiola is keen on the 26-year-old.

Having someone comfortable in possession who can create chances and also break up the play is essential to City, and it will mean they have healthy competition for the holding role next season.

How Man City will line up next season

Assuming Guardiola sticks to a 4-1-2-2-1 formation next season, Manchester City may not make any notable changes to the starting lineup of 2017/18.

Ederson should remain between the sticks, while Nicolas Otamendi and Vincent Kompany partner each other at centre-back. John Stones and Aymeric Laporte will feature heavily at times too. Kyle Walker will keep his place at right-back while Benjamin Mendy should replace Fabian Delph at left-back.

Fernandinho should keep his place as the holding midfielder, although Jorginho will be given a lot of playing time if he signs for City as expected. Ilkay Gundogan will also be competing for minutes.

David Silva and Kevin de Bruyne will continue their midfield partnership, but a combination of Jorginho and Gundogan will be used when the pair need a rest. Guardiola may feel he needs one more midfielder.

Raheem Sterling was outstanding last season and will keep his place in attack, with Leroy Sane complimenting him on the opposite flank. Gabriel Jesus should get the nod ahead of Sergio Aguero up front, as his off-the-ball movement and industry fits Guardiola’s philosophy.

Man City XI for 2018/19: Ederson, Kyle Walker, Nicolas Otamendi, John Stones, Benjamin Mendy, Fernandinho, Kevin de Bruyne, David Silva, Leroy Sane, Gabriel Jesus, Raheem Sterling

Guardiola isn’t giving up on trying to sign Mahrez

May 30, 2018 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Transfer Targets 

Despite having three separate bids rejected in January, Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola is still desperate to sign Leicester City forward Riyad Mahrez. The 27-year-old impressed for the Foxes last season and has made it clear that he’s open to joining a bigger club, so a deal was always dependent on the Sky Blues meeting his asking price.

City already have Raheem Sterling, Leroy Sane, Bernardo Silva, Gabriel Jesus and Sergio Aguero for competition in attack, but Guardiola wants strength in depth in all positions to challenge on all four fronts next season. The Manchester giants appear to have made a breakthrough with Mahrez too, all but agreeing a £60m deal for the 27-year-old.

Mahrez has big ambition and great mental strength

After helping Leicester City win the Premier League title in 2015/16 and being named PFA Players’ Player of the Year, Mahrez wasn’t interested in resting on his laurels. The Algerian international was already planning to move to a bigger club, but he was denied a transfer.

After handing in a request, he refused to play for Leicester but quickly made a U-turn and made 36 league appearances the following season. Mahrez once again tried to leave, realising his career would become stagnant with the Midlands outfit, but Leicester wouldn’t budge.

Leicester City forward Riyad Mahrez.

So, rather than strike again to force a move, Mahrez had one of his best-ever seasons, scoring and creating 23 goals in 36 league outings as Leicester finished in the top-half of the table. Now it appears City will let him leave this summer and it’s not hard to see why Guardiola pursued him for so long.

Mahrez has never rested on his laurels or been happy to settle, nor has he ever doubted his ability and potential. Even after being refused a move, he could still enjoy one of his best-ever seasons months later, so there’s no doubt the 27-year-old can hit the ground running in Manchester.

Bad news for Phil Foden, Patrick Roberts and maybe Bernardo Silva

If Mahrez joins, one or two existing players are likely to miss out. That could mean Phil Foden and Patrick Roberts have to be loaned out this summer to still get competitive football.

Bernardo Silva’s place in the side might be up for grabs too, with the 23-year-old having struggled in his debut season at the Etihad – 35 league games, six goals, four assists – so the Algerian’s arrival could be somewhat destabilising.

Manchester City forward Phil Foden.

Foden made only five appearances to pick up a Premier League winners’ medal last season and would have been hoping to feature more heavily after a year of being in and out of the first-team, but it looks like he’ll miss out. Roberts has made just three appearances since joining the club in 2015 and has been loaned out for two of those three years.

It’s hard to see him being in the squad next season, but Mahrez joining will make sure of it. Guardiola will have Sterling, Mahrez, Sane and Silva competing for two places in the City attack, so there may not be much room for any inexperienced youngsters. Nevertheless, Mahrez will improve the squad and could help City in their quest for European success.

Kaka Talk Worrying

January 16, 2009 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Transfer Targets 

Manchester City is in a relegation battle. The owners and manager may not acknowledge it but those of us who have watched the club for a number of years are accustomed to the worry at this time of year. I’m really wondering why Hughes and the Abu Dhabi owners don’t simply pursue good domestic buys so the club can finish solidly mid table this season and then worry about splashy signings over the Summer. I’ve blogged a number of times on this subject. Wayne Bridge was a good signing: that’s the type of player that can enhance the squad: someone British who has experience playing football in England who can help the team safely glide towards a mid table finish.

Kaka for all his greatness, may not settle in right away and may provide more of a circus media wise which a club that is flirting with relegation cannot afford. I am surprised that Mark Hughes who understands British football well has not sought out more realistic and beneficial transfer targets.

Personally I think City may be dealing with a can of explosives. The team is not deep enough right now to ensure that relegation is avoided. The best players besides Robinho have all been young players like Caiecedo and Sturridge who are unproven over the long haul. I’d rather sign some more English vets like Bridge than chasing stars.  Not only does the squad lack quality and depth but also is constantly in flux which provides some less than professional footballers the excuse of not giving a full effort for 90 minutes or on the training ground.

The posts have been infrequent on this site the past week or so because quite frankly I’m waiting for something realistic to discuss, not outlandish bids for non English based players. Sadly, City has evidently chosen an unwise course forward.

Hughes Gets Time

January 5, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Mark Hughes, Transfer Rumors, Transfer Targets 

mark_hughes_1_1216116c

Despite being criticized roundly in the British press when they bought the club, Man City’s new owners have proven they understand the English game better than many other ownership group. Resisting the temptation spurned by gamblers and newspapers to sack Mark Hughes following City’s embarrassing performance in the FA Cup on Saturday, the owners along with Chief Executive Gary Cook maintained that Hughes will be given time to rebuild the squad.

A year and a half after Sven Goran Eriksson remade City in his image, the signings of Summer 2007 represent dead weight for the club. Martin Petrov and Valeri Bojinov are perennially injured, while Elano cannot co-exist it appears with Hughes.

Saturday’s signing of Wayne Bridge is only the beginning of Hughes attempts to bolster the squad. With City eliminated from the FA Cup, the club can concentrate on the league and European qualification for next season. Additionally, elimination from the FA Cup could boost City’s opportunity to compete with enhanced depth in the UEFA Cup.

Hughes deserves the entire season to right the ship should relegation worries not persist. A fair evaluation cannot be done of the manager until May and City’s decisive statement supporting the manager are to be applauded.

Benjani’s Injury and its Impact

December 16, 2008 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Benjani, Jo, Transfer Targets 

5915689

Benjani’s latest injury setback. ironically as his transfers to/from Pompey come into greater scrutiny now leaves City with either inexperienced strikers (Sturridge and Evans) or ones whose form and quality has been severely lacking this season (Vassell and Jo).

Given the amount of transfer money spent on Jo this summer, and the reputation he came to club with, this is the time where he must step up. City must gain ground during the Boxing Day/New Year’s period in order to realistically compete for the European place that skipper Richard Dunne still believes is possible. Thus any conversation about January transfer targets is irrelevant for the time being.

Mark Hughes, I believe is still the right man for the job at Eastlands. His track record with Wales and Blackburn speaks for itself. The injuries that City have suffered since August and the flux created by the sale of the club have all adversely affected the performance of the team. However, the handling of the Striker situation in Benjani’s absence could go a long way to determining Hughes long term prospects with Manchester City.

Should City Focus on English Based Targets?

December 15, 2008 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Transfer Targets 

valencias-forward-david-v-001

Rumors have circulated throughout the British press that Manchester City’s biggest transfer target in January could be David Villa. When watching Valencia, Villa has certainly been a footballer of highest class. Villa has been a prolific goal scorer in La Liga as well as with the Spanish National Team.

No doubt exists Villa would be instantly one of the most accomplished goal scorers in the Premier League. But would he have have similar trouble adjusting to the English game that other strikers who have moved from the continent have had? Villa is just the latest big name European footballer to be linked with City for the January transfer window.

With City teetering dangerously close to the relegation zone, should the club spend January trying to poach player from within England to try and finish mid table, and then pursue continental targets in the Summer?

My thinking is while City needs some more firepower desperately, it would be prudent for Mark Hughes to focus on domestic targets in January, otherwise City could become the highest payroll club ever to be relegated.

Next Page »