Will it be bye-bye to any of City’s new buys?

The white flag of surrender hasn’t yet replaced the proud crest of Premier League Champions that flutters above the Etihad Stadium, but it can surely only be a matter of time.

As a season that promised so much descends into an anxious final few weeks to cling onto an automatic Champions League qualification slot, Manuel Pellegrini is left casting around for any positives from a wholly underwhelming campaign.

Stay or go? Which of this season's transfer buys should remain at the Etihad? Will MP be around to make the decisions? Courtesy@MCFC

Stay or go? Which of this season’s transfer buys should remain at the Etihad? Will MP be around to make the decisions? Courtesy@MCFC

City’s abysmal 1-0 defeat to Burnley at Turf Moor has virtually killed off any strangulated choruses of ‘We’ll Fight Till The End’, as the inquests begin on a catalogue of missed opportunities.

Amidst the crushing disappointment there have been a few rays of hope, noticeably the majestic form and double digit goal haul of David Silva, the world class striking instincts of Sergio Aguero currently finding himself at around 7/4 with betfair to finish as the Premier League’s top scorer, and the consistency, versatility and lung-busting efforts of a certain James Milner, sadly, seemingly destined for pastures new this summer.

Super Sergio - Aguero could yet top the Premier League goalscoring charts. Courtesy@MCFC

Super Sergio – Aguero could yet top the Premier League goalscoring charts. Courtesy@MCFC

The trio emerge with their credibility intact, something that cannot be said of most of a chronically under-performing squad that hardly benefited from an influx of summer signings.

City had their financial wings clipped due to Financial Fair Play rules, but the club were still able to recruit a number of new players, most recently spending £25 million to acquire Wilfried Bony in January. But how have those new players adapted to life in Manchester, and should City be looking to keep hold of those players nearing the end of their first season at the Etihad?

Second string - Caballero has never threatened to take the Number One slot from Joe Hart. Courtesy @MCFC

Second string – Caballero has never threatened to take the Number One slot from Joe Hart. Courtesy @MCFC

Willy Caballero

There was a feeling at the beginning of the season that Pellegrini’s decision to sign the goalkeeper he had had so much success with at Malaga, was an indication that Joe Hart could have a genuine rival for the number-one spot. While Willy Caballero is arguably an improvement on Costel Pantilimon, the 33-year old Argentine hasn’t threatened Hart as the undisputed first-choice goalkeeper at the club. If Caballero is satisfied with his back-up role at City, there is no real need for the club to look to replace him. Hart knows that, barring a catastrophic loss of form, he remains the main man, with Willy ready to prove his worth if and when required.  KEEP.

Play time - Sagna would have expected to have made more City appearances this season. Courtesy@MCFC

Play time – Sagna would have expected to have made more City appearances this season. Courtesy@MCFC

Bacary Sagna

After City made such an effort to sign him following the end of his contract at Arsenal last summer, Sagna would have been forgiven for expecting to have been handed a much bigger role than he has had this season. While the Frenchman was never going to dislodge City legend Pablo Zabaleta on a regular basis, he must have hoped for more playing time, especially when he has delivered some solid, if unspectacular, showings. At 32-years old, and on a huge contract that runs for another two years, City won’t find it easy to move Sagna on if they want to recruit a new, younger right-back at the end of the season. KEEP.

Rising star? - Eliaquim Mangala hasn't been the dominant presence City thought they were getting for £32m. Courtesy@MCFC

Rising star? – Eliaquim Mangala hasn’t been the dominant presence City thought they were getting for £32m. Courtesy@MCFC

Eliaquim Mangala

On the back of a relatively quiet summer, City made a huge splash by spending £32 million to sign Eliaquim Mangala from Porto. Nearing the end of his first season in the Premier League, it’s so far looking as though Porto have had the better end of the deal. While the Frenchman has been a regular under Manuel Pellegrini this season alongside Vincent Kompany and/or Martin Demichelis, Mangala has come under fire from some sections of the media and City supporters for his inconsistent performances. The centre-back has admitted he has found it tough to adapt to the Premier League. At 24-years-old he still has plenty of time to come good in the Premier League, with City likely to give him the opportunity to fulfil his potential. KEEP.

Poor show - Fernando has been a huge disappointment to City's fans. Courtesy@MCFC

Poor show – Fernando has been a huge disappointment to City’s fans. Courtesy@MCFC

Fernando

A £12 million signing from Porto, Fernando was signed to add some steel to the City midfield, something lacking since the departure of Nigel De Jong. Sadly, the Brazilian with a Portuguese passport has been lamentable. Despite being a regular under Pellegrini, Fernando has had a dreadful first season in the Premier League. The player has admitted he has found life tough in the Premier League, but it doesn’t look as though Pellegrini is ready to cut his losses on the midfielder just yet. If he survives what promises to be a sizeable summer clearout from the Etihad, Fernando will need to improve immeasurably if he is to be considered a success in Manchester. SELL.

Thumbs Up - Super Frank has been a favourite with the fans. Courtesy@MCFC

Thumbs Up – Super Frank has been a favourite with the fans. Courtesy@MCFC

Frank Lampard

Say what you like about the circumstances that resulted in Frank Lampard making the move from Chelsea to Manchester – via New York City – the midfielder has been one of the real stars of this season. He may not have played every game but ‘Super Frank’ has been an important element within City’s squad, for what he has brought to the training ground, as much as for what he has contributed when coming off the bench. Despite his advancing years, the ever popular ‘Lamps’ is still one of a kind. He has been chronically under used by Pellegrini and will be missed when he eventually departs for the Big Apple and the MLS. RELUCTANTLY ALLOW TO LEAVE.

Firing blanks - Wilfried Bony has yet to open his scoring account at City. Courtesy@MCFC

Firing blanks – Wilfried Bony has yet to open his scoring account at City. Courtesy@MCFC

Wilfried Bony

When Alvaro Negredo departed for Valencia on the last day of the 2014 summer transfer window, it left City a man light in the striking department. Little did they know that come December they would be striker-less for a series of games with Aguero, Dzeko and Jovetic all out injured. As soon as the January window opened City shelled out £28 million to convince Swansea to part with a player who had scored 25 goals in 54 Premier League appearances for the Welsh side. Forced to put off the start of his City career due to Ivory Coast’s participation in the African Cup of Nations, Bony, has thus far been given precious few opportunities to make his mark. Curiously, Bony has been restricted to the bench at a time when many thought his firepower would see City hitting the top slot in the league. With Stevan Jovetic and Edin Dzeko both being linked with moves away from the Etihad in the summer, Bony is likely to find himself as one of the main men next season. KEEP.

 

www.readbutneverred.com @ReadButNeverRed @djwskyblu

 

20 Comments

  1. March 18, 2015  1:35 am by Simon Dear Reply

    Sorry not commenting for a while I've just been so bloody frustrated with Citys performances recently but couldn't resist this time.
    I actually went on Blue Tuesday before Christmas and suggested that we signed Bony and extended Lampard in order to retain our title By the new year we were back in the title race and had beaten Roma to qualify for the latter stages of the champions league , where did it all go wrong?
    I can't help but blame MP for his pontification with 4-4-2 and his apparent lack of invention that has in my opinion produced these poor displays & caused the team to go stale under his management.
    Bar the performance against and below par Newcastle and the second half against Stoke we have been far from convincing. Super Frank has hardly kicked a ball since New Year & Bony is still scratching his arse on the bench when he should've been bedded in for in for Barca , how we can continue to persevere with Dzeko is beyond me, The bloke has not improved since he arrived despite scoring some big goals he still lacks the aggression and conviction upfront to play in a successful 4-4-2 lineup, which still requires the two front men to work exceptionally hard.
    He has overplayed Zabs, Kompany since returning from injury & Aguero whilst Sagna ( man of the match) against Chelsea, Jovetic who offers more than Dzeko alongside Aguero has hardly kicked a ball.
    And I've not even mentioned Milner yet , I believe City will only offer him
    a 2 year deal & he want 3 , yet we will extend Demechelis ( who has played well by the way ) until he is 34!
    We have well & truly shot ourselves in the foot this season and now look like scraping a top 4 spot !
    Typical bloody City!

    • March 18, 2015  5:09 pm by David Walker Reply

      Absolutely no need for apologies - blimey you do as you see fit. I haven't been writing as many blogs recently - there are more important things in life. Irrespective of how the season turns out there is an undeniable need for big changes in player personnel. I am still inclined to give MP one more shot in the final year of his contract!

  2. March 18, 2015  1:38 am by Simon Dear Reply

    Ps - just what was all the fuss about keeping Lampard !! Hes hardly played .. I feel sorry for the lad he deserves better !

    • March 18, 2015  5:03 pm by David Walker Reply

      No idea Simon, Lampard has all the experience under the sun and is still a genuine goal threat...but no, let's play Fernando instead! Beggars belief.

  3. March 18, 2015  3:06 am by Simon Wilson Reply

    Don't want to see boring JM leave. Silva has been, and I will use another "M" word, magnificent! As you say, Aguero has been instinctive. I would like to have a shout for Martín Gastón Demichelis. Somehow I miss Nigel dJ though .... Maybe now more than ever. Hope the lads have a real go tomorrow.

    • March 18, 2015  5:02 pm by David Walker Reply

      Good call, MD is deserving of his contract extension - one of the few who haven't let the fans down this season.

  4. March 18, 2015  4:05 am by Phil Reply

    We will likely have a new manager, and many new players, next season. Lots of old players on big wages, and I think that Kompany, Clichy, Kolarov, Zabs, Yaya, Nasri, Dzeko and Jovetic are all quite vulnerable to replacement. No way Caballero returns, it looks like Milner is gone, and Yaya is the big name most likely to leave this summer.

    • March 18, 2015  4:54 pm by David Walker Reply

      Certainly five of those on your list can go, along with Fernando and then, just for once, let's see if Txiki can do his bloody job properly in the summer window...or HHSM should transfer Begiristain's sorry a*se out of the Etihad.

  5. March 18, 2015  7:02 am by James HouseOlogy Reply

    Well D-Day is here so let's see what MP has in store for us, let's see if he sends us into chaos with just the release of the team sheet only. If he goes 4-4-2 again then I think me alongside ever other City fan will explode. Fernando can do one if he starts with him I'll be forced to cut my eyes out so at least I won't be able to see the horror show in front of me. Every player has to be accountable but MP must have it right from the off and if not working don't wait until 30 mins from the end to make a change, look I'm feeling frustrated already....... Breath deep and relax and have faith (for how long though) rant over.

    • March 18, 2015  4:51 pm by David Walker Reply

      4-4-2 would be folly and I totally agree - Fernando shouldn't be allowed on the pitch.

  6. March 18, 2015  7:31 am by richard cooper Reply

    Agree that Sagna won't go and the playing time of Lampard - his quality has been needed this last few games
    Will next seaason be the time we hopefully see some of our much praised eds players given more opportunities ?
    Win or lose tonight just give a performance the club and fans can be proud of. If not could be bye bye Manuel

    • March 18, 2015  4:49 pm by David Walker Reply

      The result is everything but a sterling performance in adversity would go some way to showing we're not out of our depth in this arena. As for Manuel, if he goes Txiki should be going with him...but of course that won't happen, MP will be the scapegoat.

  7. March 18, 2015  7:52 am by Doug Henshaw Reply

    Time for the management & the players to step up to the plate tonight. We can do it we have the squad to do it just wish I felt we will do it. But never say never.

  8. March 18, 2015  8:17 am by Eileen Fullen Reply

    Spot on again ...just hope as you said they give a good account of themselves.. Not confident tho..Then there's weekend Hmmm nerves dangling already lol

    • March 18, 2015  4:47 pm by David Walker Reply

      Pride in Battle - that's the least we expect!

  9. March 18, 2015  5:29 pm by blob Reply

    It's been quite a while since I have commented here, maybe you will remember... I suggested we should be more concentrated on looking down the table rather than looking up at chelsea. That now seems to be the unfortunate reality we find ourselves in.

    What do you think we will do?
    I think pellers is a better manager than mancini, and find it ridiculous when people suggest they would prefer roberto back. At the same time though I have to really question some of pellers decisions, well a lot of them actually, all of our signings have been awful too. Only obvious step up I can see is getting guardiola, but that seems unlikely, and I think talk of giving vieria a go I premature.

    • March 19, 2015  1:02 pm by David Walker Reply

      I think we need a good old fashioned clearout but that is easier said than done. Long term contracts, big wages and sub-standard players - if you're aiming to be the best of the best - make for a challenging summer transfer window. That's shipping them out, it's another thing entirely to attract people in. In all fairness, who would opt for City if they can go to Bayern Munich, Real Madrid or Barcelona, albeit the latter are banned from the summer market.

      MP will inevitably be the fall guy but at long last the spotlight is beginning to fall of Txiki Begiristain who has done a rotten job as Director of Football with a string of woeful signings for both Mancini and Pellegrini. If Manuel goes so too should Txiki...but that's unlikely. Ideally City would get Pep if MP goes - unlikely - but Ancelotti would be an excellent option.

  10. March 19, 2015  3:32 am by goonermichael Reply

    Sorry you went out. klopp didn't do so well.

    • March 19, 2015  1:17 pm by David Walker Reply

      Cheers fella - it's a damning indictment on the Premier League, but also the lack of a winter break that there are no English clubs in the QF. The Sky money has everybody thinking English football is better than it actually is...I mean there's two French sides and a Portuguese team in the last eight. As for City, there's no shame in going out to a fully firing Barcelona, but the worry is we show no signs of improvement on 2011/12 and still have the nucleus of that team. Radical overhaul needed. I was surprised at the ease of Juventus' win and envious that a certain Carlos Tevez is no longer with City.

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