Manchester City have already made two big moves this summer, but the players they have brought in, and indeed those they are linked to, seem to be of a lower standard than their Premier League rivals.
Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur knew they were going to have spend big this summer to try and keep pace, or even close the gap, to the three teams ahead of them. One barrier they would have expected was trying to compete financially with Manchester City, but so far that has not happened, and it could be argued that is because City have targeted unexpected people.
The two men they have brought in, Jesus Navas and Fernandinho, are undeniably fine players, as is Alvaro Negredo, who Manchester City are also expected to sign, but are they good enough to turn City into Champions League contenders?
Looking at the moves other teams are making, Arsenal and Spurs are close to signing Higuain and Paulinho respectively, two players who many would consider at least as good if not better than Negredo and Fernandinho. Chelsea seem to be ahead of City in the race for Edinson Cavani, having already signed Andre Schurrle, whilst Manchester United are apparently closing in on Thiago Alcantara.
Their rivals have either bought established names or gone for young players who have the ability to become leading European stars in their own right. City’s one attempt at this, the move for Isco, ended in disappointment, and a question mark over Pellegrini’s head as he could not convince his former player to move to Manchester over Madrid.
Navas and Fernandinho are established players in Europe, but not of the standard of Higuain, and they are not young players ready to take Europe by storm, like Thiago or Schurrle. Negredo is similar, a well-known and proven player, but not someone who would be expected to make the difference in the Champions League next season. Someone who in the past would be linked with Spurs and Everton, rather than move to a club expected to challenge on all fronts.
City might have the last laugh of course, if their new signings step up to lead their trophy charge next year. They might also argue that in players like Sergio Aguero, David Silva and Yaya Toure, they already have their superstars, and are looking for quality players to add depth to their squad this summer.
However all of the major clubs in the Premier League are expected to make a real push in the market this summer, and so far City’s rivals seem to be doing the better business.
image: © Gabrielcorbachobermejo