As Pep Guardiola’s first season has come to a close, one of the reasons why he has evaded that much criticism is due to the squad he inherited from Manuel Pelligrini’s tenure.
The team was full of deadwood and players who had indeed passed their sell-by date with the squad in desperate need of an overhaul. To maintain the familiarity in the team and to provide a second chance to others, Guardiola allowed some of these players to see out the final year of their contract to retain some of the know-how and experience.
On Thursday, City released four first-teamers whose contracts came to an end; Gael Clichy, Jesus Navas, Willy Cabellero and Bacary Sagna. This was preceded by Pablo Zabaleta’s farewell game the week before, indicating the start of a transformation behind the scenes in the City ranks.
The foundations of next year’s potential success were installed in the last transfer window; Leroy Sane, Gabriel Jesus, John Stones and Ilkay Gundogan were all brought in to play a major part in the club’s upcoming seasons.
Bernardo Silva’s acquisition initiates this overhaul; his signing comes 36 days before the transfer window opens on July 1st, whereby he will officially become a Manchester City player.
— Manchester City (@ManCity) May 26, 2017
Guardiola has a knack of snapping up his targets early in the summer to allow them to adequately adjust to a new squad, a new philosophy and more importantly, a new lifestyle.
The Portuguese playmaker’s signature initiates a flurry of incomings, two of whom could be Bernardo’s ex-teammates Benjamin Mendy and Fabinho of AS Monaco.
It also suggests a signal of intent considering City’s lacklustre defensive performances at times this season, as Pep has opted for Silva to be first through the doors, and considering the attacking prowess displayed you would think this would be the last of Guardiola’s concerns. However, there will be at least two more additions to the backline.
Among the many incomings, there will be outgoings as well since the two work coherently. There is uncertainty regarding some of the players’ futures; including the likes of Fernando, Delph and Kelechi Iheanacho.
Bernardo is regarded as the heir to David Silva’s throne, despite many believing David will still be around for a few more years.
The 22-year-old provides an unseen squad depth at City, with the possibility of choosing a flank pairing of Leroy Sane, David Silva, Raheem Sterling and Patrick Roberts. This trait amongst our team has lacked for too long, and to compete with Europe’s elite and on all fronts, City must obtain it.
Guardiola’s incomings will not be players for the periphery of the squad; he wants the best of the best to challenge our stars to compete for their places and not take it for granted – as he has been done in the past. So, if the first name through the window is anything to go by, the City faithful can rejoice in what is due to be an active transfer window.