Manchester City started their mass summer clear out by releasing four first team regulars from the past years.
Jesus Navas, Willy Caballero, Gael Clichy and Bacary Sagna were all shown the exit door as the Citizens welcomed the arrival of Ligue 1 star Bernardo Silva to the Etihad stadium. Pep Guardiola’s side finished a disappointing third in the Premiership and also bowed out in the round of 16 of the UEFA Champions League.
The City squad had been unsettled all season and they never looked like winning anything at all the whole season after the first month or so. Selection headaches were aplenty as head coach Guardiola was never able to work out his winning combination. The goalkeeper position was constantly rotated between Pep favorite Claudio Bravo and Caballero. After ousting City No.1 Joe Hart at the beginning of last season, both Bravo and Caballero struggled to keep clean sheets. It is expected a big name goalkeeper will be top priority for Guardiola. Another position of worry were the full backs, with Clichy, Sagna, Zabaleta all well past their prime and aging.
With the new formation deployed by most PL clubs last term, the wing backs have become a very important position. Marcos Alonso, Kyle Walker, Danny Rose etc. helped their clubs not only offensively but also defensively with their selfless and tireless displays. City must now turn towards the younger, fresher legs to compete with other top clubs. With the signings of Leroy Sane and Gabriel Jesus, City look well covered in the forwards and wing roles, hence the departure of Jesus Navas does not come as a real big surprise. Although the center of midfield does look a little thin, if Gundogan can return from injury and regain his old form, the Citizens will be one of the best balanced, deepest squads in Europe. Defense needs to be shored up a little more and Guardiola will surely be looking to rectify this.
As for Bernardo Silva, the Portuguese International has just helped his club AS Monaco to the French Ligue 1 championship as well as a UCL semi final. Both Silva and Monaco had one of their best seasons in recent memory and it comes as no surprise that he has been snapped up for 43 Million Pounds. With 11 goals and 10 assists, Silva was an important member of the French side. At just 22 years old, he is exactly the right type of player for the Manchester side. With David Silva, Kevin De Bruyne and Sergio Aguero all close to 30, Bernardo Silva, Leroy Sane, Gabriel Jesus and Raheem Sterling represent the new, young batch of players.
Even if Silva has to come off the bench for a season or two, the experience he will gain by playing with the best players in the world could prove priceless. He is a proper No.10 but is usually played on the right side of midfield, a position which is overcrowded at City at the moment. De Bruyne, Sterling and Jesus were all tried out in that role and Silva will have to show extraordinary talent to oust any one of them. But Guardiola usually has a few tricks up his sleeve and you never know what to expect from him. He successfully converted Mascherano to a Center Back, transformed world football with his tiki-taka and using Messi as a false nine. With close to 60 grueling games each season, squad depth is severely tested in today’ scenario and Bernardo Silva might have a big role to play come next season.
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