By Brendon Netto
This Season's Stats
|Premier League: 2nd
Champions League: Group stages (eliminated)
FA Cup: Fifth round
Capital One Cup: Third round (eliminated)
Win %: 50.00%
GF ratio: 1.76
GA ratio: 1.06
What they needed
Manchester City have struggled to hit the heights of last season when they won the Premier League in dramatic fashion. During the last campaign, they blew teams away with their irresistible attack and frustrated them with their miserly defense. However, they have been slightly lacking in all departments this time around.
Sergio Aguero's injury-woes this season have crippled their strike-force who have scored significantly less this term. In fact, they were a massive 17 goals better off in the league at this stage last season and that speaks volumes of their shortcomings in front of goal this time having managed only 47 goals so far. What really emphasizes that particular point is the fact that Chelsea (51) in 3rd and Arsenal (49) in 6th have out-scored them.
With Carlos Tevez failing to score consistently and Mario Balotelli not being in top form, Edin Dzeko was the closest thing to a prolific striker City have had this season and so a move for a top quality goal-scorer would have been most welcomed.
Short of options
Their midfield has been lacklustre as well. With Samir Nasri in and out with injuries and failing to make an impact when he did feature, City have become over reliant on David Silva to provide the creativity in midfield. They don't look the same without the colosal frame of Yaya Toure commanding their midfield and could have done with some cover for the Ivorian especially because of his commitments with the national team.
Captain Vincent Kompany's absence through injury has left their defense exposed especially with Kolo Toure off on international duty as well. An extra centre-back would certainly have come in handy.
Who they were linked with
Daniele De Rossi:
Drive from midfield
Roberto Mancini has made no secret of his admiration for Daniele De Rossi and City reportedly had a bid rejected in the summer. As far as transfer targets for January are concerned, De Rossi was considered to be the most likely signing for the Premier League champions.
The AS Roma midfielder was also linked with AC Milan and Paris Saint-Germain but snubbed all offers to stay with his hometown club. The Italy international would have been a massive coup for City. He is the kind of midfield general that City would do well with and he would be especially vital in the absence of Yaya Toure. His drive, determination and all-round play as a box-to-box midfielder would have been welcomed.
City weren't linked with any big moves this time around. Radamel Falcao is definitely a target but it was common knowledge that the Colombian's saga has been reserved for the summer with Real Madrid and Chelsea also vying for his signature.
There were rumours of City attempting to prise away Luis Suarez from Liverpool's clutches but they didn't materialize. Joleon Lescott has been out of favour with Mancini and there were suggestions that he would be willing to offload the England international in order to bring in PSG defender Mamadou Sakho but nothing happened on that front either.
Finally, with Mario Balotelli completing a move to AC Milan on the fonal day of the transfer window, there was the possibilty of City launching a last minute bid for a striker and Edinson Cavani was among the names mentioned but the club decided against it.
What they got
|Miss me yet?|
Astonishingly, the big-hitters in the transfer market over the past few years made no signings at all in January. Perhaps their enormous spending has finally caught up with them especially with the Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations looming on the horizon. Their only activity in the latest transfer window was in the sale of Balotelli to Milan who incidently scored a match-winning brace on his debut despite his poor form for City this season.
What this means for their season
The absence of any transfers in January doesn't bode well for the Blues. Defending the Premier League title has always been more difficult than winning it in the first place and it was always going to be a mammoth task when Manchester United are coming for you. They needed to improve and freshen up the squad in the summer but didn't make the kind of signings that could really make an impact.
The January window was their opportunity to bolster their squad and give them a boost for the run-in. They are now 9 points adrift of league-leaders United and are out of Europe entirely while they remain in the hint for the FA Cup. Mancini has claimed on several occasions that the difference between Manchester City and United is that the latter has the services of Robin Van Persie. Now the Citizens are also short of a striker and a couple of injuries could significantly hurt their chances of retaining the league title.
On the bright side, the fact that they have no commitments in Europe means that they won't have that as a distraction. While United will have to face the likes of Real Madrid in between crucial league encounters, City will have the luxury of being well rested for their domestic games. That should give them the encouragement they need to chase down the Red Devils.
|Who do you think Manchester City should have signed? Leave your comments below or discuss with the writer on Twitter @BrendonNetto.|
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