There has been a lot of talk throughout this season that City’s title defence has fallen away because of their aging squad. City had, on average, the oldest squad in the Premier League last season, however I don’t think this is the only factor that caused them to lose their title. Vincent Kompany said in an interview with the BBC: “Age is not the issue, if we win every game people say it’s experience, if we lose then we are too old.” I think attitude and quality are the bigger issues in the squad at the moment. City are not shy on spending a few quid to get new talent in, but when was the last time they purchased a player who could walk into the starting 11?
Out – Samir Nasri
Now in my introduction I said that the attitude in the squad was a key issue which needed to be addressed. Unfortunately, Samir Nasri is the personification of that attitude. He often fails to track back and perform his defensive duties for the team, putting more pressure on the rest of the squad. Yes, he has had a very hard season coming back from a couple of injuries but in my opinion, since he has been at City, he has never hit the kind of form that triggered his £25 million move (per the Express) from Arsenal.
In – Isco
Pushing your way into the current Real Madrid attack is no easy task. Ronaldo, Kroos, James Rodriguez, Gareth Bale and Luka Modric all stand in the way of Isco getting a first team spot. So maybe the club and the player would be open to discussing a move to England. It’s no secret that a whole host of clubs would love to add Isco to their ranks, but can Pellegrini use his previous relationship from managing Isco at Malaga to draw him to City. Whenever he plays he oozes energy and enthusiasm, not to mention his impressive speed and skill set which would be a huge asset to any team in the fast-paced Premier League.
Out – Fernando
The Octopus has been a bit of a fish out of water since his move to England from Porto last summer. He certainly did not provide the defensive assurances which City purchased him for. Since Nigel De Jong left for AC Milan, there has been a void in the enforcer role within the heart of the City squad. Fernando has only had one season but he has failed to show he has what it takes to perform the kind of role that Nemanja Matic has locked down in the midfield of the new champions Chelsea, for example.
In – Vincent Kompany
I think the perfect midfielder to steady the ship is someone already in the City ranks, none other than their own captain Vincent Kompany. When Kompany was signed from Hamburg by Mark Hughes, he was already playing as a defensive midfielder. He has done an amazing job as the captain of the club at centre-back since then, however this last season he has had a habit of rushing forward out of position and leaving the inexperienced Eliaquim Mangala or the ageing Martin Demichelis high and dry. So why don’t City just move him back up the pitch? It would also be a perfect position to captain the team from, in a similar mould to City’s U21 coach and Arsenal legend Patrick Vieira.
In – Ashley Williams
Now pushing Kompany up from the backline will leave a very large hole in the heart of the City defence which needs to be plugged. City can’t afford to gamble this time, as they did with Mangala last summer. After forking out £32 million (per the BBC) for his error-strewn performances, City cannot make this mistake again. That is why I think they need to go for a proven Premier League CB, and Ashley Williams has deserved a move to a Champions League club for a few seasons now. He has been a solid leader in a Swansea City squad which in just a few seasons, has come up from the Championship and firmly established itself as a strong mid-table club, finishing 8th this season. I think he can be the steady influence to help Mangala settle in and free Kompany up to patrol the midfield. Mangala is still young and with his massive price tag, City will not be moving him on any time soon. I think having Williams alongside him and Kompany in front will give him the environment to iron out the errors in his game and adapt to the Premier League.
Out - Yaya Toure
Now this is a controversial pick among City fans. Toure has been a force of nature for City…at times. However, he often goes missing in big games and the noise generated by himself and/or his agent is a huge distraction to the team. Yaya was one of the key players in City’s championship winning 2013/14 season - netting 20 goals, including a string of curled freekicks into the top-left corner. But this campaign he only managed half that amount, still not bad for a midfielder though. Which is why I think City should only offload him to the likes of Inter or PSG if they can get…
In – Paul Pogba
The French power house has been on fire in Serie A, ruling the Juventus midfield. His goal scoring record is not as good as Toure’s, however he is only 22 and has all the attributes to build on that. Those of you who are not regular viewers of Serie A will still be familiar with Pogba’s antics as he has a habit of scoring some pretty spectacular strikes which do the rounds on YouTube. However, it’s his energy and work rate which I think would be the key addition to the City midfield. The problem is that his talent is no secret and transfer fees of £60-£70 million have been mentioned on a regular basis and that was before he got to the Champions League final! PSG are also keen on acquiring his talents, according to the Mirror, but maybe the chance to upset Manchester United by joining their rivals will tip the scales in City’s favour? Pogba left United in 2012 saying "They left me out because they said I wanted to leave," he told Football Focus on BBC World News. "That is disrespect. Maybe they didn't think they were making a mistake." Maybe he wants to show them what they missed out on, close up.