A trophy-less season wasn’t what Pep Guardiola had in mind when he announced his imminent arrival into the Premier League at around March of last year. This makes next season a pivotal one for Pep in Manchester, one where he stamps his authority on the Premier League, one where he proves his dominance in a third major European league. The ‘dead-wood’ has been ousted and £78 million of new signings are in, Monaco’s architect Bernardo Silva and Benfica keeper Ederson.
Before the mid-point of June, City have already spent near £100 million and they haven’t even secured half their targets. The Brazilian cost City a world-record fee for a goalkeeper, £35 million after his double winning campaign with Benfica. His acquisition is another sign of the ruthlessness of Guardiola, now leaving the futures of Joe Hart and Claudio Bravo in doubt whilst Willy Caballero was released. The 23-year old is commanding and much more physically imposing than City’s alternatives. Whether he will start is another question but it adds serious pressure to Bravo for his place and makes the impending departure of league winner Joe Hart likelier by the day. Fellow South Americans Fernandino, Gabriel Jesus and Fernando can help him settle in as he begins to adjust to Premier League life.
It’s not a stellar signing, more a very promising talent. However, the transfer of the Monaco playmaker to the Etihad is impressive. A star in the 2015 U21 Euros for Portugal, he attracted attention from the French outfit who cashed in, moving him in from Benfica. Quickly becoming a vital part of Leonardo Jardim’s side, he scored 11 goals and claimed 12 assists on the way to the Ligue 1 title and an astonishing Champions League semi-final this year. Beating City in the round of 16, Silva was a stand-out over two legs in an all-action Monaco frontline. A wonderful player to watch, gliding in off the right flank and delivering exquisitely from his left foot, he’s a great fit for City. Just how they can fit two Silva’s, Kevin De Bruyne, Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sane in the same team seems impossible, someone will miss out. He won’t walk into the team but adds another exceptional option to the ever-growing armoury at Guardiola’s disposal.
Last month, City’s chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak expressed his ambition for his club to go for the quadruple according to the BBC. That brings extreme pressure, something the Spanish tactician has thrived off managing teams expected to win honours. Kyle Walker, Ryan Bertrand and Alexis Sanchez are all reportedly still targets for City along with Monaco’s Benjamin Mendy, but that has stalled. Their actions in the market thus far are of a club determined to put the money where their mouths are.
They’re showing their financial muscle early whilst their expected title rivals have dithered in acquiring the necessary improvements. The red half of Manchester can answer they’ve began to with the signing of Victor Lindelof, but City will fancy their chances at this moment. Three more signings could make them title favourites but in the mind of the chairman, Guardiola and maybe the players, they will view themselves as best prepared to take the Premier League title next season, already.
Featured image curtsey of mancity.com.