High fives as City secure the future

Manchester City begin their quest for back-to-back Premier League titles with something of a parliamentary air ringing in their ears. The slogan ‘5 more years’ is the ever popular mantra when a UK Government is seeking a second term in office.

He's a keeper - well a striker, actually, Sergio is staying with City until 2019. Courtesy@MCFC

He’s a keeper – well a striker, actually, Sergio is staying with City until 2019. Courtesy@MCFC

The 60 month tenure is all the rage on the sky blue side of Manchester this week, as one by one, City’s superstars sign up to sustain & enhance the Etihad success story.

City fans are loving a drip feed of contract extensions as David Silva, Vincent Kompany and Sergio Aguero have all pledged their long term futures to the Abu Dhabi ‘project’.

In great company - Vinnie knows where he wants to spend the best days of his working life. Courtesy@MCFC

In great company – Vinnie knows where he wants to spend the best days of his working life. Courtesy@MCFC

Samir Nasri was first to take the five-year plunge this pre-season, as Ferran Soriano, Txiki Begiristain and Manuel Pellegrini went about the business of nailing down the nucleus of City’s two-time title winners from the past three years.

Starter for 10 - Samir was the first of City's superstars to sign the new raft of five year deals. Courtesy@MCFC

Starter for 10 – Samir was the first of City’s superstars to sign the new raft of five year deals. Courtesy@MCFC

A revitalised Aleksander Kolarov signed up for an additional three years and now there’s every prospect that announcements on extended Etihad stays for Edin Dzeko & Joe Hart are just days away.

There’s even a suggestion that despite some unpalatable summertime shenanigans, Yaya Toure could even get an improved deal …talk about having your cake & eating it!

Caustic humour aside, it’s a stunning statement by the champions that this season’s title defence will be founded on a bedrock of continuity and harmony.

Acclaimed - Yaya was deservedly voted as City's Player of the Season 2013/14. Courtesy@MCFC

Acclaimed – Yaya was deservedly voted as City’s Player of the Season 2013/14. Courtesy@MCFC

Not only are the stars staying in Sheikh Mansour’s galaxy, City’s gravitational pulling power has seen the arrivals of an influx of high calibre players who will help Manuel Pellegrini chart new sky blue horizons.

Eliaquim Mangala finally, finally arrived with a transfer fee that immediately made him the highest priced defender ever to enter the English game.

City’s seemingly messy & protracted pursuit of the giant 23-year old centre back, owed everything to complex negotiations with 3rd party interests and was not of the player’s making.

The French international, who Pellegrini believes will become one of the best defenders in the world, actually put pen to paper and signed for City on July 12th, but the deal could not be finalised until the conclusion of other fiscal matters.

Record deal - Eliaquim Mangala is the most expensive defender in English football. Courtesy@MCFC

Record deal – Eliaquim Mangala is the most expensive defender in English football. Courtesy@MCFC

In keeping with the usual anti-City agenda, the media chose to weave a web of deceit circulating rumours that the ex Porto defender was holding out for better offers from Chelsea or the soon to be vanquished – or should that be VAN-QUASHED – palate of orange & red over at Manschesscher Unitet.

Whereas it’s all change for United, with transfer speculation, a new manager and a step into unfamiliar territory (e.g. League Cup 2nd Round), City are the polar opposite – a model of meticulously targeted transfer activity, consistency and tried & tested management.

Whoever would have foreseen such a dramatic role reversal?

No change - LVG carries on recent traditions in the calibre of Manchester United managers! Just a joke (ish)!

No change – LVG carries on recent traditions in the calibre of Manchester United managers! Just a joke (ish)!

City, with what appeared a perpetually revolving managerial door at Maine Road, the City of Manchester Stadium and even since moving to the Etihad (Hughes & Mancini) were the constant, when it came to negative comment and coverage.

Any journalist who was rash enough to criticise Manure in Sir Baconface’s sizzling years of success, would find themselves banned from the Carrington press conferences and the media suite at The Swamp.

Ice blue cool - Pellegrini is on course to be City's most successful ever manager #TrustOurMP. Courtesy@MCFC

Ice blue cool – Pellegrini is on course to be City’s most successful ever manager #TrustOurMP. Courtesy@MCFC

Dear old David Moyes changed all that. The self-styled Theatre of Dreams was drowned out by a cacophony of shrill screams as United surrendered the Premier League title by a yawning gap of 22 points – a record – well done Moysie!

Louis Van Gaal has apparently brought the ‘feelgood factor’ back to the Trafford Troglodytes – they have already won silverware from Walt Disney – so why not attach the red and white ribbons to the PL trophy right away?

From City’s perspective it’s all good news.

Golden Boy - David Silva could emerge as City's finest player of all time. Courtesy@MCFC

Golden Boy – David Silva could emerge as City’s finest player of all time. Courtesy@MCFC

Dismissed and derided by Fergie as the ‘noisy neighbours’ the decibel levels emanating from the Etihad are low, very low, when contrasted with all the ballyhoo surrounding Trafford Borough, cash splashing Arsene Whinger, Brenda’s £100m+ Suarez-less rebuild, and Maureen ‘sinking’ that Chelsea are now a ‘big horse’ title winner.

In reflecting the persona of their manager, it is City who go about their business in a professional and efficient manner, getting the job done and not seeking the oxygen of screaming back page headlines.

Lest we forget City are working under duress – more accurately described as UEFA Unfair Financial Fair Play twaddle – which has restricted the club’s transfer activities.

Key man - Fernando is City's new midfield enforcer, drumming up trouble for the opposition. Courtesy@MCFC

Key man – Fernando is City’s new midfield enforcer, drumming up trouble for the opposition. Courtesy@MCFC

Nonetheless, irrespective of FFP, CEO Ferran Soriano said the club only ever intended strengthening key areas of the team. They feel this has been done by addressing a perceived weakness at centre back, a strength-in-depth issue at right full back and a holding midfielder who would shield the back four to greater effect.

In acquiring Mangala, Sagna and Fernando for a combined £44m Pellegrini is convinced it’s a job done.

Signing Argentine keeper Willy Caballero from his former club Malaga, means the manager knows he now has two highly accomplished goalkeepers vying for the number one spot.

Right support - Sagna will share full back duties with City legend Zaba. Courtesy@MCFC

Right support – Sagna will share full back duties with City legend Zaba. Courtesy@MCFC

It’s well known that Joe Hart performs at his best when facing a genuine challenge for his starting job, as evidenced when Shay Given was still a threat. Caballero is a definite upgrade on the departed Pantilimon.

City’s fifth summer signing, young Argentine midfielder Bruno Zuculini is definitely one for the future, hence he’s going out on loan to La Liga.

In stark contrast, the big surprise addition to the squad, Frank Lampard is very much one for the present.

Making a difference - Lampard's experience will be invaluable for City. Courtesy@MCFC

Making a difference – Lampard’s experience will be invaluable for City. Courtesy@MCFC

Astonishment, shock, surprise, consternation, delight…the signing of Lampard was warmly welcomed by most City fans, but not all. Those opposed to him swapping royal for sky blue will surely come round, once they witness what he can bring to the team between now and the end of January.

On loan from New York City, Lampard’s presence could be a key factor in a successful Champions League Group stage, as well as establishing a platform in the first half of the season to make it three PL titles out of four.

City’s remaining transfer activity looks to be limited to those leaving the club between now and September 1. Micah Richards, Scott Sinclair and John Guidetti should be on their way, but hopefully Matija Nastasic will be staying, especially after Karim Rekik’s loan to PSV.

Balkan Boys - Nastasic should be staying put with Jovetic at City. Courtesy@MCFC

Balkan Boys – Nastasic should be staying put with Jovetic at City. Courtesy@MCFC

It looks as if City will have cracked the centre back ‘faultline’ that existed in the first half of last season. Kompany, Mangala, Demichelis and Nastasic should provide the necessary wherewithal.

If Fernando, nicknamed the Octopus for his ability to tackle and wrestle the ball off an opponent, is a more effective defensive barrier than the likes of the departed Javi Garcia and Jack Rodwell, it will add a welcome solidity to City.

Adios - Javi gets his coat and heads for Russia, but he'll always be a City Champion. Courtesy@MCFC

Adios – Javi gets his coat and heads for Russia, but he’ll always be a City Champion. Courtesy@MCFC

Zabaleta, arguably the best right full back in the world, will remain first choice but Sagna will get plenty of game time, keeping two quality full backs fresh all season round.

The loss of Negredo until deep into the autumn is a blow but, a team that scored an amazing 156 goals last season can only benefit from a rejuvenated Jovetic and, fingers crossed, a fully fit Aguero.

City won the title despite the Argentine talisman missing half the season. If that doesn’t focus the minds of City opponents, well, what will? City also coped when key figures Kompany and Silva were injured for prolonged periods.

Missing In Action - The Beast won't be back until late Autumn. Courtesy@MCFC

Missing In Action – The Beast won’t be back until late Autumn. Courtesy@MCFC

Silva remains the main creative hub and is as influential in his own way as a marauding Yaya and, arguably even more so than when Captain Kompany, City’s Belgian Boulder is missing.

It would be asking a lot of Yaya, now seemingly back on track after his tragic and ‘wayward’ summer, to hit the dizzy heights of last season’s amazing achievements, but such are the demands from a club determined to be the best in England and Europe.

Yes yes Yaya - can Toure reproduce the brilliant form of last season? Courtesy@MCFC

Yes yes Yaya – can Toure reproduce the brilliant form of last season? Courtesy@MCFC

It’s acknowledged that it’s harder to retain a title than win one in the first place – everyone wants to take the scalp of the Champions.

That said, Manuel Pellegrini is now one PL campaign wiser, his players are conversant with his philosophy and tactics, they have even more of a title winning mentality and the squad has improved.

Upon succeeding Roberto Mancini, Pellegrini’s brief was to win five major trophies in five years.

Engineering success - MP is determined to retain the PL title but also win a trophy with 'Big earred handles'. Courtesy@MCFC

Engineering success – MP is determined to retain the PL title but also win a trophy with ‘Big earred handles’. Courtesy@MCFC

If City can add to their PL and Capital One Cup success of 2014 with three pieces of silverware in 2015 it will be sky high sky blue fives all the way.

After all, unlike the Palace of Westminster, the Coalition Government or Her Majesty’s Opposition, Manchester City are fortunate and grateful to have one very well liked and trusted MP!

#TrustOurMP

By David Walker

www.readbutneverred.com @ReadButNeverRed @djwskyblu

18 Comments

  1. August 16, 2014  12:01 pm by susan richardson Reply

    Your prose as always puts everything in perspective and we really are set up to retain the EL and challenge in Europe that will be one in the eye for FFP merchants! Not really bothered about the swamp dwellers now don't seem to be any threat newspapers love in with them is hilarious just adds to their pressure. Noticed Ian Lady man's sly swipe at MP this morning but pot kettle and all that it'll bite him on the bum.

    • August 16, 2014  2:56 pm by David Walker Reply

      Quotes from LVG just now:

      "Vuck a duck theesch Schwans are not lischening to my philoschophy of always letting Manschesher Unitet win da gamesch - where's Howard? "

      Agree - they are a total irrelevance. Thanks for the feedback and as for Ladyman, LadyBoyz,Lederhosen...who gives a flying wotsit?

  2. August 16, 2014  12:03 pm by susan richardson Reply

    EPL and Ladyman bloody smartphone!

  3. August 16, 2014  12:39 pm by Andy Bird Reply

    Nice summary David. It is strange, although probably not expected with current media, that despite being champions we are the forgotten team with all the usual hype of how others threw it away last season rather than how well we actually did. Many even forget our 3 early away losses. Our form post those (with the usual Sunderland results) was very good.
    Our transfer policy is now excellent. Despite a world cup year, as you have noted our
    additions were done early, giving MP plenty of time to integrate them. If we do get any last minute additions (perhaps Isco) the team won't be waiting and relying on that player (unlike the last minute transfer dreams of LFC and MUFC) and he can be integrated in time. Or maybe once we have increased our transfer funds with Richards and Sinclair leaving, our money will sit and wait and the team's needs assessed in January.
    I too was disappointed with last weekend but expect business as normal on Sunday with a familiar line up. Look forward to your match write up. 3-0 win for me!

    • August 16, 2014  2:58 pm by David Walker Reply

      Thanks Andy - I'm quite happy for City to be low key, cliched I know, but let's do our talking on the pitch.

  4. August 16, 2014  12:43 pm by Toby Teasdale Reply

    Hi David,

    You put your finger on it 'Continuity and Harmony'.

    The poisoned French dwarf and his FFP have given us an unintended 'bonus'. You can bet any 'performance related pay', the key ingredient in these new contracts, will be based on what City do as a group, not as individuals.

    No egos or pushy agents to disrupt proceeding and everyone there for the long haul.

    The expansion of the City brand overseas, is the icing on the cake, offering players the opportunity for to continue working in the family business. their twilight years

    Maureen, Brenda and Vanessa will be green with envy.

    • August 16, 2014  3:01 pm by David Walker Reply

      Vanesscha - we must get da grammar correct (!) - will be spitting feathers at present. City have put together a great business model on and off the field of play. Even with two titles in three years, I honestly believe there are idiots out there who will continue to underestimate us and think HHSM is going to get bored with his 'toy'.

  5. August 16, 2014  5:27 pm by richard cooper Reply

    Very balanced article and I agree that Nasty should stay and expect him to start tomorrow and am sure we will see the player of a year ago and playing alongside Vincent he can't have a better tutor
    Would appreciate your comments on why our good young players such as Lopes, Huws, Rekik etc etc seem to be permantly on loan. Surely there must come a time when they are integrated at City if only at first to play in the early rounds of domestic cups
    If you don't get my match comments on the barcode game it's because on Monday I will probably be spending half Monday with a telepone listening to a monotone voice at the Etihad telling me my call is important, please hold whilst I ressurect my undelivered seasoncard - don't think I have lifetime for going on the pitch and abusing Howard Webb !!!!

  6. August 16, 2014  5:55 pm by David Walker Reply

    Lopes and Huws will undoubtedly benefit playing in higher grade of football this season than EDS eg. Ligue 1 and possibly Champions League for Lopes and the Championship[ for Huws, especially under Uwe's care. Not so sure how Rekik is going to benefit in Eredivisie for a second season, but I think we have to trust Vieira and MP on how players should develop, at what rate and when do they become genuine, regular first team contenders.

    It's not an easy call to make and, with respect, I am in no position to say what's right or wrong. We can onl;y hope that these young guns do eventually make the grade - they have to - otherwise the Etihad Campus will be condemned as all smoke & mirrors, but I don't think that's the case for one moment.

    What we have come to learn about HHSM, Khaldoon etc is that they are serious, focused businessmen and if they set their stall out to do something...they'll do it.

    Thanks again RC - always appreciate you taking the time.

    • August 16, 2014  6:46 pm by Andy Bird Reply

      I have a feeling we may see Huws back in first team squad in January. If course all depends on how he does but interesting that his loan is only for half a season. Perhaps just as Lampard leaves?

      • August 16, 2014  7:37 pm by David Walker Reply

        Good observation Andy, Vieira rates him highly.

  7. August 17, 2014  7:35 am by goonermichael Reply

    Enjoyed your neighbours result yesterday. Your best signing is Sagna's wife. I think most gooners miss her more than Bacary.

    • August 17, 2014  7:43 am by David Walker Reply

      Indeed Michael, a bit early for it to be LVG's swansong but nonetheless enjoyable. As for Mrs Sagna, can't say we've had the pleasure as yet...is she any good at playing it out from the back, that's how we do things at City nowadays, smooth and controlled trying to create thrills at the end of every move.

  8. August 17, 2014  7:48 am by goonermichael Reply

    She was very popular on twitter with Arsenal fans, Seemed to connect well with us. She's very attractive too. The media are so up van gaal's bum it's a bit sickening. I don't think they have the players to do much personally.

    • August 17, 2014  11:30 am by David Walker Reply

      What's her Twitter handle? More than happy for the media to fawn over the Trafford Troglodytes - let Pellegrini get on with his job under the radar and see where it takes us this season. Hopefully the novelty with Manure won't wear off - if they continue to sit outside the top four/six there'll be plenty of interest ;-)

  9. August 17, 2014  11:09 am by DOUGLAS HENSHAW Reply

    3pts today will do nicely for a start. As usual Dave you have summed everything up nicely. Quiet happy for us to fly under the radar & what a good start for that lot over the road..

    • August 17, 2014  11:36 am by David Walker Reply

      Hope we're singing the blues come 6pm!

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