The Citizens return to action this Monday for the Premier League against Wolverhampton, after having flirted with the chance to reinforce themselves with the Flea
September 21, 2020 Share on FacebookShare Share on TwitterTweet Share on WhatsAppShare
Guardiola gives indications on the elimination of City against Olympique de Lyon in the last Champions League (Franck Fife / Pool via REUTERS)
It was the great novel of the European summer: Lionel Messi was about to leave Barcelon a, he even sent him a burofax declaring his freedom of action for the free exit clause that appeared in his contract. And waiting for the resolution of the conflict was the Manchester City of Pep Guardiola (the coach who got his best version) and Sergio Agüero (friend of Rosario and partner in the Argentine team). The Citizens represented the strongest card that La Pulga had, with PSG as an alternative. Even, beyond the fact that there was no formal communication between the Catalans and the British, Man Blue had appointed a man of the kidney (Ferrán Soriano, with a Blaugrana past) to carry out a hypothetical negotiation.
But the epilogue of the story is known: Messi, 33, decided to stay in Barcelona so as not to have to sue the club that promoted him in big football. Thus, at least until June 30, 2021, it will continue among the culés. And the City was left without its star signing.
Well, Manchester will return to action this Monday from 4.15pm visiting Wolverhampton for the second date of the Premier League. And it will do so with just a couple of new faces on its roster. Without the Messi bet, Guardiola's hosts aimed to nurture the areas where they understood that they needed a quality leap. And so far they have spent 80 million euros . But investment will probably grow between now and the closing of the fihages window, which ends on October 5.
Ake, on his way through Bournemouth (REUTERS / Chris Radburn)
Thus, for example, the place where he has spent the most money so far is in defense, an area in which he suffered in decisive moments, such as in the duel against Olympique de Lyon for the quarterfinals of the Champions League. In fact, he improvised (as he had already done throughout the season) with Fernandinho in the rear. Consequently, the Citizens acquired the pass of Nathan Ake , a 25-year-old Irishman, from Bounemouth. To get their services, they paid 45 million euros . Former Chelsea, Reading and Watford, international with the Netherlands team, brings a brand and clean start. “I come to the best club in England in the last ten years,” he said upon arrival.
Then, City secured one of the pearls of Spanish football: they added Ferran Torres , Valencia winger, barely 20 years old. He is already part of the Iberian national team, he made his presentation in the elite with 17 years and offers great imbalance; an ideal variant for Sterling and Mahrez, Pep's leading men. To stay with him, MC spent 23 million euros (plus 12 in variables).
Ferrán Torres celebrates a goal for Spain in the UEFA Nations League (REUTERS / Sergio Perez / File Photo)
But the Man Blue's foray into the market would not end there. The coach wants another defender. He has already made attempts for the Uruguayan José María Giménez (they say he would have offered 89 million euros, which would have been rejected by Atlético Madrid) and for Kalidou Koulibaly, defender of Napoli, a native of Senegal, 29 years old . But in the last hours he would have approached the possibility of staying with Jules Koundé , the 21-year-old French defender who shone for the Europa League champion Sevilla. His exit clause amounts to 80 million euros, but City could take him in 50. Negotiations are underway.
Without the magic of Messi (a wish for nine months from now?), City's priority was to solidify the structure, so that its fantasists do the rest of the work. Will it reach him, finally, to aspire to stay with the Champions League, beyond fighting in the Premier League?