Roberto Mancini is to begin a mass cull at the end of the season to clear out some of Manchester City’s biggest earners, reports The Mirror.
Carlos Tevez, Edin Dzeko, Samir Nasri, Joleon Lescott, Aleksandar Kolarov, Scott Sinclair and Maicon are reported to be surplus to requirements at Eastlands, whilst the futures of Gareth Barry and James Milner are also supposedly in question.
Wayne Bridge, Roque Santa Cruz, Kolo Toure and Richard Wright will all be allowed to leave when their contracts expire at the end of the season in a series of moves that will see City slash their wage bill by £12m in total.
Whilst some of these moves are plausible, the majority carry a sense of overreaction and borderline desperation. Very rarely will any side move on upwards of 10 senior players in any given summer and it hardly seems the answer to Mancini’s gripes over the lack of depth at his disposal.
Tevez will be entering the final 12 months of his current contract come the summer, and his apparent reluctance to sign on the dotted line and commit his long-term future to the reigning Premier League champions is hardly a surprise from a man who has made no bones of his wish to see out his contract and return to his native Argentina.
He made that clear whilst still at Manchester United and the inevitable lack of sell on value was part of the reason for Sir Alex Ferguson’s hesitation in signing the Argentine, though not enough to stop him making his move.
Dzeko has scored at close to an impressive goal every other game since his arrival at Eastlands and is the Citizens' top scorer this term, whilst Nasri has been inconsistent at best since he joined from Arsenal, struggling to impose himself despite being given plenty of freedom in the City system.
Lescott was a mainstay of last year’s title success and rebuffed offers that came his way in January to remain in Mancini’s squad, whilst Kolarov, despite being infuriating at times, has often been Mancini’s go to guy when times get tough, being thrown on to bomb crosses or set-pieces into the opposition box.
Sinclair was only brought in at the start of the season as a replacement for Adam Johnson, which was strange in itself as Johnson was seemingly moved on due to genuine out and out wingers being somewhat redundant in Mancini's system.
Similarly, Maicon was brought in over the summer despite having Pablo Zabaleta and Micah Richards at right-back, and even though Richards has missed most of the season, Maicon has still featured rarely whilst ultimately failing to impress.
Milner and Barry have been mainstays of the side; Barry consistently performs well and is undervalued, whilst Milner constantly turns in quality performances, regardless of where he is asked to play.
The main point here though is that in order to challenge regularly for the top honours, a club needs an element of consistency throughout, be it the manager, coaching staff or players. You only have to look at Chelsea to learn that crucial lesson.
A mass overhaul of the squad will rip apart a dressing room, taking some of the most experienced and influential characters from it, which will ultimately lead to a squad being rebuilt from top to bottom. Surely this would only harm City’s title chances, rather than improve them?
Of the nine first-team squad members being linked with an exit from Eastlands, six were brought in by Mancini himself, which would surely cause the City owners to think carefully about whether the Italian can be trusted to do better in the transfer market, and may pose doubt over his own future.
The message here is evolution, not revolution.
The framework has been built from the ground up to turn City into serious contenders and a major force to be reckoned with. Sure, departures and arrivals are inevitable in the close season but Mancini would be well advised to do so in moderation or this particular house of cards may just fall apart.
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