Manuel Pellegrini's transfer policy could cost Manchester City the title

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As Manchester City clinched their second Premier League crown on 11th May 2014, Manuel Pellegrini's attention would have immediately turned to retaining the title for the first time in the club's history.

After their initial success in 2012, City found 2013 a lot tougher, eventually finishing 11 points behind champions Manchester United.

However, having beaten Liverpool and Chelsea to the 2013/2014 title despite not being at their best for large parts of the season, City would have been confident of making it two in a row this campaign.

Summer spending was key

With Chelsea disappointed at their third placed position they were always likely to spend big to bridge the gap, while Liverpool would have been desperate to finally end the long wait for a first Premier League title having come so close.

That meant City would have to be efficient in the summer transfer window. With Pellegrini already having an impressive squad at his disposal, there were not many people who could come in and improve the title winners.

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However, the job of an elite manager is to constantly improve his team. Barcelona didn't stand still under Pep Guardiola despite immense success. Similarly Real Madrid reacted to winning La Decima by signing Toni Kroos and James Rodriguez.

Yes, the Financial Fair Play sanctions that limited Pellegrini's spending to a net £50million made things difficult, but while some may have thrived under the pressure, the Chilean proved he struggles in the transfer market.

Money not well spent

City's biggest deal of the summer was a protracted one - the £32million arrival of Eliaquim Mangala.

A move for the Porto starlet had been talked about long before the summer transfer window opened, but it wasn't until less than a week before the season kicked off that he finally put to paper.

Mangala's long-awaited debut was an impressive one as he marked Diego Costa out of a 1-1 draw with Chelsea, but his performances have been down hill ever since.

For £32million City should have had a composed, dominating long-term partner for Vincent Kompany.

Instead they've invested in an erratic young defender who's potential is only matched by his inconsistency.

In fairness, finding a top level centre-back isn't easy but it's worth noting that for half the price, City could have signed Argentine international Ezequiel Garay.

Why Fernando?

City's other high profile arrival was aggressive midfielder Fernando, who arrived for £12million, also from Porto.

His signing was a baffling one given how well Fernandinho had slotted in alongside Yaya Toure in the successful Premier League campaign of 2014.

Again, there were alternatives on the market - Real Madrid signed Toni Kroos, while Xabi Alonso was on the move, joining Bayern Munich.

Ok, Madrid and Munich hold more pulling power than Manchester, but it's Pellegrini's job to attract the top players to the club, especially if he shares the owners ambitions of winning the Champions League.

Biggest mistake of them all

While City's summer additions were questionable, perhaps the strangest decision of them all came via a deadline day departure.

Following an impressive debut campaign in which his goals kept City within touching distance of the top during a tough start to the season, Alvaro Negredo was allowed to leave the club.

A season-long loan deal was agreed with Valencia which would see the Spanish international make the move permanent at the end of this campaign.

The striker has since said Pellegrini had no trust in him, while Pellegrini argues he was allowed to leave due to injuries.

Whatever the truth, City fans must have been bemoaning their manager's transfer business the day James Milner took his place as a lone striker.

How costly will it prove

As it stands, City sit five points behind leaders Chelsea in the Premier League table ahead of a mouth-watering clash on Saturday evening.

Pellegrini's men travel to the Bridge knowing that defeat would leave them eight points adrift of Jose Mourinho's team, but victory would claw them back to within two points.

If City can somehow overtake the current leaders and secure back to back Premier League crowns for the first time in their history, Pellegrini will be considered one of the club's finest ever managers.

However, if Mourinho secures a first title since his Chelsea return, questions will have to be asked about City's transfer policies.

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Manchester City
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