With less than a week to go for the start of the Premier League season, things are beginning to move towards a grandstand opening. Manchester City have been fairly busy in the transfer market having completed seven signings thus far and they could spend some more money in the remainder of the transfer window. While City have splashed the cash overall, there hasn’t been the expected defensive overhaul as of yet and with passing days it looks John Stones will be the only name to be coming into the first team as far as defensive cover is considered.
City face Sunderland on the opening weekend and the Black Cats are undergoing somewhat of a rebuilding phase themselves. While the start will be important, City chiefs will realise it will take time for the players to adjust completely to the demanding nature of Guardiola’s strategies. There are the usual suspects like Aguero, De Bruyne and Silva who are expected to play a pivotal role in the way the season pans out for the Etihad outfit. But we cast an eye on 3 players who might surprise us with their performances.
The English international has been facing wave after wave of criticism ever since his move to City a year ago. While the majority of the fans consist of bitter Liverpool fans who have rejoiced at every failure of their star player of a couple of seasons back, many people have wrongly criticised his performances citing his humongous price tag of £49m in which he had no role to play.
He has matched his stats from his most profitable season in a Liverpool shirt but visibly tailed off during the latter stages of the season and had a miserable Euros along with the rest of England squad. Pep has been said to approach the player personally over the summer and reassured his importance to the team. Sterling was initially bought with the knowledge of Pep joining in a year’s time and though he has slipped under the radar after a disappointing season in the eyes of the footballing fraternity, City fans hope Pep can work his magic on Raheem as he strives to hit back at his critics emphatically.
This might be a long-shot but the French defender certainly possesses the ability to turn his fortunes around. City bought him after looking at his natural ability. He has the pace, power and physique but his raw nature has been all too visible throughout last year.
City paid Porto £42m and admitting failure will not be a hallmark of a club who are striving towards a holistic approach regarding footballing matters. Pep will certainly try to mould Mangala and should he succeed, the defender will be akin to a new signing this season.
The emerging Brazilian talent has been signed for an estimated £27m by City after warding off clubs like Barcelona. City will have to wait until January to get a glimpse of the player dubbed the ‘Next Neymar’. It might prove to be a blessing in disguise with the league defences tiring and Gabriel will get a chance to fly off the blocks and have a go at the teams who will have been used to a set pattern of City’s play. The player certainly possesses the ability to trouble the big guns in the Premier League and might be a surprise trump card for City at the end.