Summer Ins & Outs:
In: Fernandinho (Shakhtar Donetsk, £30m), Jesus Navas (Sevilla, £14.9m), Alvaro Negredo (Sevilla, £20m), Stevan Jovetic (Fiorentina, £22m).
Out: Filippo Mancini, Ryan McGivern (released), Wayne Bridge (Reading, free), Kolo Toure (Liverpool, free), Carlos Tevez (Juventus, £10m), Karim Rekik (PSV Eindhoven, loan), Roque Santa Cruz (Malaga, free), Jeremy Helan (Sheffield Wednesday, undisclosed), Maicon (Roma, undisclosed).
What to expect from 2013/14:
All change on the blue side of Manchester, with a new manager and plenty of new players. Manuel Pellegrini won't have been given an ultimatum to deliver the title in his first season - he will be given time to adapt to England and the Premier League - but at a bare minimum, the money-men will be expecting the team to finish in the top three. Anything less and the vultures will be circling. The directors will also be demanding a far better Champions League campaign and more attractive attacking football than Roberto Mancini delivered last season.
Pellegrini is lucky in many respects. He’ll be under relatively little pressure, yet he is taking over a squad who were good enough to finish second last season and has been granted a number of top quality additions for the loss of only Carlos Tevez (and ... erm ... Maicon ... and Wayne Bridge). Like manager, like player - the new faces will need time to settle, but with almost £100million of investment the Chilean will be delighted with the attacking options available to him, with the likes of Yaya Toure, David Silva and Sergio Aguero already well-settled and established at the Etihad. City undoubtedly have the best striking quartet (Stevan Jovetic, Alvaro Negredo, Sergio Aguero & Edin Dzeko) in the league (possibly in Europe), but keeping four forwards happy will be a challenge, as Mancini found to his detriment with both Balotelli and Tevez. He will also have to manage the egos in the team (yes, I’m obviously talking about Samir Nasri - if he’s still there come the end of the transfer window) and will be hoping to see improvement in the form of captain Vincent Kompany, but all signs point to a positive and exciting season for the club and the fans.
Player to watch:
Jesus Navas - The tricky winger has all the qualities to crack the Premier League, but it will be interesting to see how he settles away from Spain. The 27-year-old has had well documented problems with homesickness in the past, but City must've been fairly certain he was over this before spending £15million on him. If/when Navas does settle then he will be a fantastic acquisition, adding some much needed creativity and width behind the front men, and equally importantly his arrival will take some of the weight off David Silva, who was over-worked last season. Navas will provide Pellegrini a more consistent and reliable option on the wing than Nasri, and from a fantasy soccer standpoint, he should score solid points throughout the season, with plenty of crosses, assists, shots and a few goals; all for very little outlay (currently at an entry price of £6.3m in Yahoo Premier League game).
Manchester City should put up a decent fight for the title, but a new manager who has never managed outside the Spanish-speaking world and a big influx of new players all needing to adapt may prevent them from taking the big prize. I'll go with consecutive second place finishes - this time behind Mourinho's Chelsea - and a run to the quarter finals of the Champions League.