Manchester City have been by far the dominant team in the Premier League in recent years. They have won five Premier League titles in the past decade, including three of the last four on offer. Their constant influence on the League Cup seems indestructible, while they have also won two FA Cups during that time.
Will they rule sovereignly again? 🔵 pic.twitter.com/PLmBnkVYcr
– Premier League (@premierleague) July 15, 2021
Since the arrival of Pep Guardiola in 2016, City has been raging against opponents with one of the best squads in world football. The star names in all positions on the pitch have helped the club defend its championship title in the coming season. Guardiola is an extremely talented manager who has been able to get the best out of his team for years.
🏆 Pep Guardiola was named as @PremierLeague Manager of the season!
😅 Only one more for the trophy cabinet! pic.twitter.com/qRqcTzqE2U
-SPORF (@Sporf) June 5, 2021
With all this success, however, the natural question that arises is who gets the most game time. In fact, not all big players can have the same playing field because a craft team rarely wins that way. In this sense, FootTheBall looks at three players the Cityzens can afford to outsource without compromising too much on quality.
The Brazilian striker can best be described as a “puzzle”. It is hard to imagine which version will appear on game day. Jesus has the ability to score from anywhere on the pitch, is a predator in the penalty area while combining efficient running and header. On the other hand, he can also become invisible in games if he barely gets a kick on goal before he is unceremoniously pulled away.
95 – Gabriel Jesus has been directly involved in 95 goals (73 goals, 22 assists) in his 114 starts in all competitions for Manchester City, scored eight and set up one in his last 10 starts. Impressive. #FULMCI pic.twitter.com/q4NG4WURtV
– OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) March 13, 2021
That kind of reputation has haunted him throughout his career in the city. He joined in 2016, the same year Guardiola entered, and has not been a constant performer over his five seasons. His highest number of league starts came last season at 22, when Sergio Agüero was slowly sidelined by the coach. The 22 times who took the lead from the start only scored nine goals and four assists. You just can’t expect that from a high profile striker at a club that wins trophies every year.
With Sergio Agüero leaving Manchester City when his contract expires next summer, Gabriel Jesús should be the replacement but he has not found “consistency”.
Pep Guardiola has to decide that Jesus is the man you can rely on.
– City-Xtra (@Stadt_Xtra) March 27, 2020
Additionally, over the past year, the surest indication that Jesus is not replacing Aguero as the club’s next leading man has been. Instead of nodding to Jesus, Guardiola didn’t play a striker and reverted to a “false 9” with Phil Foden and Kevin De Bruyne changing the lead roles. This system change led the club to the Champions League final with impressive victories against PSG. The last nail in the coffin comes from City’s own transfer approach this semester.
Juventus “dressed” by Gabriel Jesus #mcfchttps://t.co/8Af9HgPXNw
– Manchester City News (@ManCityMEN) July 12, 2021
They are trying to sign Harry Kane from Spurs and one offer has already been turned down. If Kane arrives, Jesus will certainly not start more than a maximum of 10 games next season. No ambitious shooter would want that and it makes sense for City to sell the player now. You have enough resources for goals even without Kane, with contributors all over the field. The club is sure to take a loss of around £ 30million, but they can still get more than £ 20million if they join a top club.
This is a case of bad luck and an opportunity for both the player and the club. City signed Athletic Bilbao’s Laporte for £ 57million in January 2018 and he immediately established himself as a starter. Due to his mastery of the left foot and his sense of position in defense, Laporte played 35 league games in his first full season. Along with the Cityzens, who amassed 100 points on the backs of some strong defenders, Laporte also scored three goals and three assists.
– City-Xtra (@Stadt_Xtra) January 30, 2021
However, that was as good as it could for the Spanish central defender. In the following off-season, he was operated on on his right knee, which caused him to miss the start of the campaign. Although he returned as a starter with 15 appearances, the past year did not go according to plan. A mixture of injuries and poor form resulted in his being benched after a dismal 2-2 loss to Spurs in November. Since then, he has only played 11 league games and was most frequently found in the national cup competitions, where his goal in the final against Spurs City won the League Cup.
MONSIEUR AYMERIC LAPORTE @The door
– Manchester City (@ManCityFra) April 25, 2021
The coming season doesn’t look promising for Laporte either, with John Stones and Ruben Dias at the start. The former had an excellent European Championship while the latter was named Player of the Year in the Premier League in its first season in England. This is where the feeling of having a chance to move to Laporte comes into play. Laporte made his debut for Spain ahead of Euro 2020 after changing nationality and was a shining light for La Roja in their surprising run into the semifinals.
71 – Aymeric Laporte made 71 of his 79 passes against Portugal 🇵🇹 (89.9% accuracy), the second most a defender on his debut for Spain 🇪🇸 in the last decade (Mario Hermoso completed 95 of 103 against Bosnia 🇧🇦 in November 2018) . Quality. pic.twitter.com/wQ6j4unfBh
– OptaJose (@OptaJose) June 6, 2021
He appeared in all of their games and showed efficient passing skills as well as a flair for when to tackle. The time has come for City to sell Laporte as a left center-back is always an advantage. There will certainly be suitors from overseas for the player if City were to sell, and they already have a replacement in Nathan Ake as well. Of the players who can raise money for the club, Laporte is one of the top bets.
CHANGE OF SCENES
One of the decisions City will likely have to make this summer is whether to sell Raheem Sterling or Silva. This question arises from the club’s ever-growing hunger for trophies and of course for that elusive Champions League crown. If Guardiola are really serious about signing both Kane and Jack Grealish, as is widely reported, either of those two current wingers will have to leave.
Bernardo Silva delivered more Premier League assists in 2021 than any other player … 🅰️
Six and count. pic.twitter.com/j683qmhteu
– Marathonbet (@marathonbet) April 22, 2021
The difference could be due to their performance on the recently closed euro. Sterling was a star for England when they made it to the finals and scored three times. On the flip side, Silva had a bad time with the Selecao when they dropped out in the round of 16. The Portuguese has been a fan favorite at Etihad since arriving in 2017 and played a key role in the domestic triple season 2018/19 with 13 goals and 14 assists in all competitions.
Bernardo Silva this season 🔥
– UEFA EURO 2020 (@ EURO2020) June 9, 2019
However, last season was not the best season for him. The explosive appearance of Phil Foden seems to sideline one of the more seasoned pros while new signing Ferran Torres had a brilliant debut campaign and fantastic performances at Euro 2020. Plus, it looks like Riyad Mahrez will finally come out on top on the right wing and City are spoiled for choice in this division. Another factor behind Silva’s departure is that it could be a slightly cheaper option for clubs among current players.
Pep Guardiola could sacrifice Bernardo Silva to seal Jack Grealish transfer while planning Man City overhaul | @SunMartinB https://t.co/2vP1jq8yO8
– The Sun Football ⚽ (@TheSunFootball) June 9, 2021
Barcelona are said to have been seriously interested last season before the deal failed in the closing stages. While the Blaugrana certainly won’t renew its interest, some solid offers should come in by the time it hits the market. His 2018 transfer fee of £ 43.5million may be a long one, but any team that signs the nimble playmaker is sure to improve their attack skills.
Manchester City are already well positioned to build a successful title defense given the nature of their squad and one of the best coaches in the world. Even if some or all of the players on this list are eliminated and they are not replaced, that should still be enough to win next season. However, the club are always on the lookout for the best purchases and with money not an issue they can be expected to sign at least one new player before the season kicks off next month.