Manchester City were completely off the pace in the Premier League this season, finishing a whopping 18 points behind the side they beat by one point to the title the previous season. While Liverpool have now racked up 97 and 99 points in consecutive seasons, City went from 100 points in the 2017/18 season, and 98 points last season, to 81 this season, a huge drop. Thus, it is no surprise that Pep Guardiola and the City hierarchy are already looking to rebuild and refresh so that they can pose a better challenge to Jurgen Klopp and his team next season. City are still favourites for the title next season at most betting sites in Nigeria according to latest reports, as well as elsewhere, but that will mean nothing if they do not improve their squad and put on a proper challenge.
City have seen a legend in David Silva depart, as the Spaniard leaves the Etihad Stadium after ten glorious years of service. Silva is joining Lazio in Serie A, with Pep finally bringing Phil Foden in as his heir apparent next season. However, City have already pulled off two signings to strengthen the side. Having lost Leroy Sane to Bayern Munich, they wasted no time in signing 20-year-old Spanish winger Ferran Torres from Valencia, while they took advantage of Bournemouth’s relegation to pick up Nathan Ake. Ake is likely to be Aymeric Laporte’s backup, but his ability to play at left-back as well as defensive midfield, along with Pep’s desire to rest and rotate Laporte, will mean that the Dutchman is likely to see a lot of playing time next season. Torres may not be so lucky, with Raheem Sterling, Bernardo Silva and Riyad Mahrez ahead of him on the flanks, not to mention Gabriel Jesus when Pep wants to shake things up tactically. Nevertheless, both these moves are solid additions to the City squad, with the club looking to bring in more players to improve the quality as well.
Left-back is an area of concern as well, with Benjamin Mendy, Oleksandr Zinchenko and Angelino all having failed to impress for one reason or another. City are in the market for a dominant centre-back to partner Laporte as well, with Kalidou Koulibaly of Napoli their top target. Thus, John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi are both likely to be sold, although one of them may be retained as cover now that youngster Eric Garcia has refused to sign a new contract and wants to move back to Barcelona. Midfield is the one area where the club are quite well resourced, with Ilkay Gundogan, Rodri, Kevin de Bruyne and Fernandinho all available, not to mention Bernardo Silva and Phil Foden play as one of the advanced midfielders as well.
Liverpool have thrown down the gauntlet to City, who need to respond. While they may be successful in the Champions League this season, scratching a long itch for the club’s ownership, they will be desperate to return to the top in England as well, and these transfers look like giving them a fighting chance next season.