Seems bizarre doesn’t it that Manchester City a club labelled the ‘richest in the world’, one that’s been heavily criticised for supposedly ‘buying’ the title is now facing the prospect of having to deal with only a small squad to choose from. Only last week City boss Roberto Mancini was lamenting the size of his squad:
“I don’t know but we don’t have enough players. It is difficult [to bring any in]. We are 18 players now. We can’t sell any players.”
Today came the news that despite Mancini’s insistence that striker Mario Balotelli would not be sold in this transfer window it now seems the Italian striker is on his way to AC Milan.
Looking at the players who’ve exited the Etihad since City’s title win last season, its not hard from a United point of view to be more than a little pleased.
While the departures of the likes of Ahmed Benali, Vladmir Weiss and Owen Hargreaves is hardly like to affect even a non-league side, when you consider that Nigel De Jong, Adam Johnson and now Mario Balotelli have now left the club it does make you wonder if City are actually weaker than last season. Take Johnson for example, hardly a fans’ favourite at the Etihad but 26 appearances a couple of assists and six goals last season means he played his part. Who have City brought in that could be classed as a replacement? Scott Sinclair- hardly a step forward for the squad. The sale of De Jong was a bit of a surprise for many City fans as unlike Johnson the Dutchman was fairly popular among the Blue faithful. 21 appearances- ten of them as substitute – last season showed he played his part, especially when offering the likes of Yaya Toure the chance to push further up the pitch. City have obviously spent money on midfielders in the likes of Jack Rodwell and Javi Garcia but you have to wonder whether that is a step forward or even sideways and not a slight weakening of the squad.
Losing Balotelli may seem like a good thing to some City fans after all he’s obviously had his problems, but with 13 goals last season – plus a somewhat vital assist- there’s no denying the Italian played his part in bringing the title to the Etihad.
With Carlos Tevez enduring something of a lean spell in front of goal- plus also being as predictable as the weather – selling Balotelli, despite his erratic behaviour, may just be an edge towards City losing the title it took them so long to gain.