TRANSFER WINDOW, I AM IN YOU!!
Oh Silly Season, how I love thee. You never fail to amaze me with your multitude of rumors, lies, turncoats, and saviors. You are the professional wrestling (sports entertainment?) of the soccer world, and I can’t get enough of it! And the fact that you are still showing up mid-season is just scandalous! This is the time of year that relegation threatened clubs can turn things around with some smart moves, or a title contender could bring in the catalyst that pushes them to the top. Also, Fulham.
As many of you know, Citeh are linked with a ludicrous (not the rapper of Move B*tch fame) number of transfers every single transfer window. Already this month we’ve been linked with Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Diego Costa, and Radamel Falcao. Now, could these moves ever happen? No chance Anything is possible I suppose. But, I would rather focus on players that our club could actually bring in. Due to our congested schedule we are seeing a lot of players pick up non-contact injuries, which are usually caused by over use. This transfer window would be a great time to add a bit of depth, and maybe get rid of a little dead weight.
In my opinion, we need cover in defense, in the middle of the park, and we could use another winger/creative midfielder. At center back and right back we have been ravaged by injuries, and some of our players aren’t getting any younger. I would like to see a versatile defender come in that could play right back or center back, and it is a must that they are able to play with the ball at their feet. With the system that the gaffer has installed, our club needs defenders that can play smart passes and work their way out of trouble. In midfield we must find someone that can spell Fernandinho and Yaya Toure. Javi Garcia has been a bust, and Jack Rodwell’s hamstrings tear easier than Hulk Hogan’s shirt. James Milner could play in the middle just fine, but we still need someone that can recycle play and is comfortable playing passes from deep. Lastly, with the recent injury to Samir Nasri (Yanga-Mbiwa is a dead man) it is vital that we find another wide player or creative player to rest Silva and Navas. Now there are big name players in every league, but these players come with a big price and it would be reckless to only target big money players. I have compiled a list of players (some established expensive players, some up and comers at a decent price) that I believe could fit in to the club and could enhance the team immediately.
Top of my list is Semih Kaya of Galatasaray. Is he a huge name? Not yet, but I’d rather us snap him up now before someone else finds out about him. Kaya is a talented player that has been playing at the highest level in Turkey for some time now, and has plenty of experience in the UCL. At his current value he would be a steal, almost as much of a steal as Nastasic was. Paying his transfer fee would not be a problem for our club, but there is an alternative method to get him to come to the northwest of England. A swap plus cash deal. Roberto Mancini (I miss you Bobby Manc) has never been one to let a defender leave his club without being properly compensated, and we have a defender who is out of contract in June of this year. This defender has been linked to a move away from the club, and Mancini was always a fan of his. Joleon Lescott. Joleon’s market price is listed higher than Semih, but it would never be reached seeing as how little time is left on his contract and his age. If Mancini would go for the deal, which I think is a definite possibility, I believe we could secure Kaya for Joleon Lescott plus some cash. Mark my words. Semih Kaya will play in a major league in Europe for a big club. I would love that club to be Manchester City.
Next on the list is Kurt Zouma of Saint-Étienne in France. There isn’t a powerhouse club in Europe that isn’t going in for this kid. He has been playing in Ligue 1 for close to three years now, and he doesn’t turn 20 until this October. This is not just a move for the future, Zouma is good enough to play for our club right now. Much like Nastasic, Kurt Zouma is years ahead of his peers. He is part of a young group of French players that are all very confident on the ball, and are also positionally sound. Don’t be surprised if this kid makes France’s World Cup squad this summer.
Fabian Schär is a 22 year old Swiss defender at Basel that is already rumored to be headed to all of the top clubs in England. He has already been capped for his country and has been a stud for his club over the past season and a half. He is another defender that is very comfortable on the ball, and is tactically ahead of many others his age. Playing at Basel has afforded him the chance to play Champions League football against some of the best players in Europe, so he would be completely prepared to play at the level that City would expect of him. He is the cheapest option of all of the names on my list, but he is without a doubt on the same level as the rest. If Fabian is to come to England, I would rather see him in sky blue than in some crap hole down in London.
Lastly, we have the most expensive and sought after member of my list. Eliaquim Mangala is a center half for Portuguese powerhouse, FC Porto. This French defender would cost 20 million at minimum to bring to the club. In my opinion, spending that much on a defender in January is a waste of money and smells of desperation. This could be the reason that Manchester United is so heavily linked with this player. Hard to believe a mid-table club has so much money. I digress. Mangala has plenty of experience in Europe at a young age, and was also recently capped by France. Mangala’s time may be running low at Porto but I do not see our club breaking the bank for him in this window. Summer is a different story.
This category is more than just a defender or a box to box guy. In our system, the players in the center of the pitch have to be able to unlock defenses with through passes from deeper positions as well as regain possession. This list will have a mix of players that are more defensive and players that are more comfortable moving the ball from the middle third of the pitch into the attacking third.
My top defensive midfielder was Nemanja Matic of Benfica, until I saw that Chelsea has all but signed the player for a staggering amount of money. This made me look elsewhere for players that fit the Fernandinho role. On my search I found another Brazilian playing in a cold weather country, much like ‘dinho when he was at Shakhtar. That player is Rômulo of Spartak Moscow in Russia. This is an extremely risky move because he has not played since September, when ruptured a cruciate ligament in his knee. He is cleared to return to the pitch at the end of January though, which would allow us to let him find fitness in FA Cup matches or even Premier League matches. Unlike Fernandinho, this player is thought of quite highly by Brazil’s manager, and he was part of the Brazilian Olympic team during London 2012. He is plenty comfortable sitting quite deep in midfield and breaking up play and recycling possession. At 23 years old, he has a bright future in Europe and could bring more speed and control in midfield than Javi Garcia has provided. Seeing as he is currently injured, he could come at a cut rate price, which could turn out to be a very savvy move by the Citizens.
Next is Mateo Kovacic from Inter Milan. This kid is going to be something special, there’s no way around it. He is cut from the Pirlo mold in my opinion. Not a tackler, but not a box to box guy. He sits behind the creative players and helps spread play to the wings with pinpoint accuracy, or drags players out of position with intelligent movement and patience in possession. He would cost a pretty penny, but if used right he would be worth every bit. He will be playing in the World Cup for Croatia this summer, and is sure to turn some heads. I’d love to see this player spraying the ball all over the pitch from the center circle in the coming years. Quality player.
The last player is youngster who plies his trade at Derby County in the Championship, and he is being courted by Liverpool and Everton. Will Hughes has been playing for Derby’s first team since he was 16 years old. At 18, he is already more composed than many central midfielders that are older than him. Hughes is a creative player that loves to operate in the middle of the park and unlock defenses. He’s got a sweet left foot, hawk eye vision, and the teen age bravery that allows him to attempt runs and passes that other players wouldn’t dare. His passing ability would be a great addition to our side, but I do not think that we could sign him this month. I wouldn’t be surprised if a pre-contract was worked out, and he was allowed to finish the season at Derby and then move to City in the summer. One for the future.
If there is one player that I would like to see City splash a lot of cash on in this window it would be Antoine Griezmann of Real Sociedad. This French winger has flown under the radar in Spain for a few years, but his star is shining brighter now than ever before. From the left wing position, he has scored 12 goals and assisted 2 through sixteen La Liga matches this season. Pacey, direct, and deadly. Griezmann has yet to be capped at the full level for France, which will keep his price down a bit, but he could still cost close to 15 million. I would be thrilled to see this guy end up in the blue half of Manchester as I believe he has a lot to offer. If you don’t believe me please check this out. And if you have more free time, check out his performance against Real Madrid, simply magnificent.
Another option in this department is to start playing our own little genius Marcos Lopes (Rony if you’re nasty). I’ve talked ad nauseam about this kid for the past two years, and I think it’s about time that he gets his breakthrough in the squad. He is one of the best teenagers in Europe, and he tore apart Bayern Munich recently in the UEFA Youth League. If you’ve ever talked to me you know how strongly I feel about this kid’s potential, so just check out that video and cross your fingers that his time has come. He will one day wear the number 10 for our club.
My final two suggestions in this department are tricky ones because of who the players are. Adam Lallana and Jeremy Menez are two of the most talented players in their respective leagues. Lallana is the leader of a free flowing Southampton squad, and Menez is a dangerous winger that has grown unhappy at PSG. Lallana would be very hard to pry away from Southampton, but if it were to happen, Manchester City would have bagged themselves one hell of a player. Comfortable on both wings and in the middle of the park, Adam Lallana can do it all and has the versatility that Pellegrini would love. It would be a difficult transfer, but would be well worth it. Menez, on the other hand, is in the final six months of his contract and is reportedly hankering for a move away from PSG. He’s a big, fast winger that starred at Roma before moving back to his home country. At 26, he would be available to work out a contract with our club and move in the summer for free. But, if we wanted to get the hole in our line up filled immediately we would have to dish out 10 million plus. It would be money well spent, as he can play on the wing or as a support striker to give our boys up front a bit of a rest. He will be looking to get more playing time ahead of the World Cup, and would do well as a rotation player with Jesus Navas.
Right, so that is my view on who would fit in at Manchester City if they feel the need to spend some money in this transfer window. I hope I opened your eyes and minds to some players that you maybe hadn’t heard of previously, and that you might take a peek at soon. I’d love to hear your thoughts on who you think City should move for before the window ends! Comment on this post, or tweet me @jtmccune.
Until next time
The Citizen Abroad