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Why this summer could make or break Manchester City’s dynasty of domination

Why this summer could make or break Manchester City’s dynasty of domination

Three or four signings are imminent as Guardiola goes in search of perfection

OVER the past couple of seasons, Manchester City have become so well-acquainted with perfection they can call it a close friend. They have holidayed together, sometimes for several weeks at a time.

It is, though a fickle, constantly elusive companion and as City place a treble-winning season and another staggering haul of league points into the annals of history – as much to make sense of it as to chronicle - the question arises how they are going to maintain this high-maintenance relationship.

Standing still simply isn’t an option because to do that is to regress, or at least appear so as rivals frothing at the mouth with ambition and weaponized with vast fortunes seek to chip away at their dominance and come after their crown.

Last summer it was possible to add just a singular player to their ranks and still carve out unprecedented achievements. Now the situation is different, in part due to those very accomplishments. Now it is necessary to strengthen from a position of great strength.

Vinnie has gone, a player who club chairman Khaldoon Al-Mubarak described this week as ‘irreplaceable’ in an interview with CityTV and the term is both accurate and a cause for concern. It is feasible to bring in a defender of Kompany’s equal but his leadership, influence and standing among team-mates will be greatly missed. It takes a long time for a legend to grow and they don’t grow on trees.

The same applies to David Silva who could well be leaving his Etihad playground after eight years of immaculate service. Should Merlin remain in situ he will almost certainly become a peripheral figure as his thirty-fourth year compromises his magisterial talent and for all the cheap talk of City’s spending power, they cannot easily buy a replica of a one-off. For all the talk too of Bernardo Silva being his name-sake’s successor each player has a differing skill-set and it cannot be over-stated how fundamental a role the Spanish maestro’s zen reassurance in possession has played in City’s rise.

More so, this is a squad that has collectively not yet reached the absolute peak of its powers but with a clean sweep of domestic silverware and six trophies won in two campaigns can be said to have completed their pinnacle of achievements early. That prompts worries – if worry isn’t too dramatic a word – at hunger issues moving forward because the motivation and work-rate it takes to win the FA Cup, Carabao Cup and the Premier League in the same season is so immense as to be unimaginable. To then expect the same intense and sustained drive to ‘merely’ replicate those feats is something you suspect is beyond even the master manipulator Guardiola.

If all of this sounds overly negative then it is certainly not meant to be but nor should the extraordinary plateau from which Manchester City currently resides on detract from the importance of their summer ahead. This is the summer that will ultimately determine how they will be remembered decades from now. Whether the books and films and footage in the future view them as a short-term phenomenon or the creators of a dynasty the likes of which English football has never experienced before.

This places, to put it mildly, a good deal of pressure on Pep and the club to bring in the right players in the months to come to act as fresh impetus and when assessing who those players might be let’s dispense with idle speculation and concentrate only on what we know for sure.

We know that a minimum of three signings are imminent because Guardiola said so back in March. “There are three or four positions I think we have to try to look for and some ideas we have.”

As this was stated prior to Kompany’s confirmation of departure we can add an extra player in there too.

We also know that City are looking to secure at least one of these signings before the transfer window flings fully ajar through a thousand agents blowing their hot air. When asked in the aforementioned interview how far down the line this summer’s recruitment is Khaldoon replied with heartening firmness: “Advanced. Very advanced. Before the season is over we know exactly what we need and we’ve already started planning and we’ve started the necessary approaches.”

As for the positions being prioritised, we’re certain via sheer logic that a centre-back is incoming while City’s long quest to provide competition and respite for Fernandinho in the number 6 role is going to be nailed down this time come hell or high water. Rodri is of genuine interest for the gig while Harry Maguire’s name for the defensive vacancy has been mentioned too many times for there not to be some substance behind it.

Lastly, we know that Isco isn’t coming from Real Madrid because he never, ever will.

Whoever does put pen to paper will be privileged to join this expansive, ground-breaking project but with that privilege comes huge responsibility. For City are on speaking terms with perfection, as elusive as it is, and it’s a bond forged on genius and toil. It’s a conversation the club are desperate to keep going long into the night.






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Stephen Tudor
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