The Citizen (KZN)

Man City plot their future

- Manchester

– Manchester City head into the new campaign at something of a crossroads, having lost their Premier League crown and failed again in Europe under Pep Guardiola (below).

They have the obvious task of trying to regain the upper hand over Liverpool domestical­ly and finally unlocking the door to Champions League success after another quarterfin­al exit.

But there is a much bigger and broader long-term challenge to be addressed as the wealthy club face some major decisions about what direction to take with the squad.

Spaniard David Silva has left after a decade of delightful light-footed, advanced midfield play and club record scorer Sergio Aguero is moving into the final year of his deal and could also say goodbye to The Etihad at the end of the season.

Even more significan­tly, Guardiola’s deal also runs out in June, 2021. City chief executive Khaldoon Al Mubarak says that situation will be resolved “naturally” but the lack of clarity means the club must decide on a real plan for the years ahead.

The two signings so far in the transfer market indicate a move towards younger players for the future with 25-year-old Dutch defender Nathan Ake and 20-yearold Spanish winger Ferran Torres lowering the average age of the first team.

Much is expected of homegrown midfielder Phil Foden, who is also 20 and likely to see more playing time with Silva gone.

The question is whether City can combine a gradual freshening up of their squad at the same time as they fight on the domestic and internatio­nal front for trophies.

There is certainly enough quality in the squad to secure a third title in four seasons.

However long the Guardiola-era at City lasts, a matter entirely in the Catalan’s hands, this season is sure to bring plenty more exhibition­s of his entertaini­ng football philosophy. –

 ??  ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa