Sergio Aguero, Raheem Sterling, David Silva, Yaya Toure, Vincent Kompany and Nicolas Otamendi; are Manchester City finally about to make their mark on Europe?
In recent seasons City have shown that they have what it takes to perform domestically, winning the Premier League title in both 2011/12 and 2013/14. Their European performances, however, have been a completely different story.
Two last-16 exits under Manuel Pellegrini along with group stage exits under Roberto Mancini is not good enough for a team of such a high calibre.
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New signings have seldom been the key to translating City’s domestic success into continental success. In the past, arrivals such as Jesus Navas, Stevan Jovetic and Fernandinho have done little to help city progress in the Champions League.
This year, however, may be City’s year. With record signing Sterling contributing to a solid midfield and feeding Argentinian ace Sergio Aguero, they are extremely dangerous going forward, proven in their 3-0 victory over the current champions, Chelsea.
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They could be further helped by the supposed arrival of Belgian international, Kevin de Bruyne from Bundesliga side VFL Wolfsburg.
Jesus Navas has scored just seven and assisted 24 in 95 appearances for the blues since joining in June 2013. For a signing costing just £14.9 million it’s not a huge investment but the Blues should have had more return on it.
Sterling has been brought in to add some more flair to their midfield. At a price tag of £49 million it shows that City aren’t afraid to spend big. He’s already been an asset to their team with intelligent passes and runs contributing to their stellar start to the season.
So what does this mean for Europe?
With Sergio Aguero in the form of his life at 27 and new signings paying off, we could see a major change in City’s performances in the Champions League. A signing that could be key to their success is Aguero’s compatriot Nicolas Otamendi.
Also aged 27 he can provide a wealth of experience gained at previous Liga BBVA club, Valencia. He can also provide a challenge to Eliaquim Mangala as he may well be Manuel Pellegrini’s first choice, above the Frenchman, to play alongside captain Vincent Kompany in central defence.
Manchester City are in a better position to challenge in Europe than they were last year. With investments made over the summer both their attack and defence has been bolstered and teams have reasons to fear them.
We should see them get out of the group stage and with a favourable draw in the last-16 hopefully progress from there. They haven’t come up against any stiff competition yet this season and it is still early days to predict their success against the best clubs in Europe but if they continue their current form they should put up a fight.