Heartbreak signals spending
Manchester City were frustrated in their first Champions League final, ultimately losing 1-0 to a well-drilled Chelsea side to ensure the club’s quest for European success continues for at least another season.
Pep Guardiola has spent $1.2 billion at Man City without winning the Champions League 🤑 pic.twitter.com/xqZseZiQDB
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) May 30, 2021
Out of the heartbreak, however, comes a ruthlessness that fans of the club be familiar with. It is well documented that the club have the Champions League as their ultimate goal, to such a degree that despite their incredible domestic success, this season will still be a disappointment.
The result is change, as per usual brought about through the transfer market. The Citizens are on the hunt for a wide playmaker and a forward, with The Athletic reporting that England duo Harry Kane and Jack Grealish are their top priorities, along with a left-back if the right option presents itself.
Both Kane and Grealish would command sizeable sums, perhaps as much as £200 million between them, which seems extortionate in a football economy already crippled by the Coronavirus Pandemic. Even for a club of Manchester City’s considerable resources, the general feeling is that they will need to sell before they buy.
Quartet in the shop window:
Duo Sergio Aguero and Eric Garcia are already on their way to Barcelona upon the expiry of their Manchester City contracts this summer.However, they are unlikely to be the only senior players leaving the club, with unrest rumoured to be rife in the squad.
Raheem Sterling, Gabriel Jesus and Riyad Mahrez are all thought to be considering their futures in Manchester. Sterling and Mahrez both began the Champions League final, but are rumoured to be frustrated with the amount of rotation that they are subject to.
The pair made 58 Premier League appearances between them this season, but Sterling was tellingly left out of the knockout ties against Borussia Dortmund and PSG, playing just ten minutes across four games. Both players have two years left on their contracts, and the club are apparently keen to get some return on the £110 million that they spent bringing them to the club.
Gabriel Jesus has also cut a frustrated figure this season, not least because he is a striker at a club that seemingly prefer to play without one. He started 22 games in the Premier League winning campaign, but is often sidelined for big games and asked to make an impact off the bench.
There is also speculation surrounding centre back Aymeric Laporte, who has fallen out of favour this season due to the re-emergence of John Stones and the signing of Ruben Dias. The now-Spanish international is thought to be considering his options ahead of next season, but it is difficult to see Manchester City getting any fee that they would deem acceptable to move him on.
Unless swap deals are arranged with Aston Villa or Tottenham Hotspur, it is difficult to see many clubs with the financial muscle to bring in these players. PSG could be tempted to the table, but the forwards would find game-time there more difficult than they have in Manchester with the status of Kylian Mbappe and Neymar within the side.
Morning. Fairly complex situation in terms of City’s summer plans. A few players could go as they’re unhappy about game time (or for other reasons e.g. contracts). But it’ll be hard to find buyers in the current market. Kane/Grealish on the cards https://t.co/SI0wSxSE82
— Sam Lee (@SamLee) May 31, 2021
Arsenal are rumored to be interested in Mahrez and Sterling, but realistically do not have the financial muscle or European football to pull either deal off.
The need for Manchester City to sell, combined with the difficulty they may have selling such big names, means that moves for Kane and Grealish, both of whom are thought to favour a move to the Eithad, may have to be put on hold. It may not be until late in the window that the pair get the moves they want, and they will certainly want to keep all options open.
The consequence of this? Football fans may be subject to transfer sagas surrounding the pair that will rumble on all summer.
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