I was clicking through Football Squads today and I noticed just how giant the Manchester City squad is getting. It’s getting positively Real Madrid-ian. There are fully 48 players listed with squad numbers! Holy crap! So the question is, what, exactly, is Mark Hughes thinking?
I think I can safely assume that Sparky didn’t make every call on who to sign. I can’t imagine that a manager would willingly want to deal with the headaches of four diva strikers – Robinho, Roque Santa Cruz, Emmanuel Adebayor, and Carlos Tévez – that were brought in for a grand total of about £120 million. I think we can all safely assume that there is no rotation that will satisfy all of their demands for playing time. This isn’t going to end well unless the teal does far better than I think they will.
Which brings us to the midfield. Gareth Barry is an excellent addition but, of course, they paid too much. (It’s pretty much accepted that Manchester City now has their own price point, much like Real Madrid or Chelsea.) I’m not sure where the offense on the wings will come from – it’s certainly not coming from Shaun Wright-Phillips – but they do have Barry, which is a nice start. Which means they have 4 classy strikers and nobody to deliver them the ball.
Which brings us to the defenders. In short, Manchester City have massive ambitions. That much is evident. The problem is that, while they have Shay Given in goal, they don’t really have anyone in front of him yet. Kolo Touré is a nice addition but he is what he is; what we saw at Arsenal last year is what he’ll bring Eastlands. Wayne Bridge is reasonable and Micah Richards has tremendous potential but with City in win-now mode, will they tolerate his growing pains?
I know Sparky is a good manager but I also know that the Sheik is, in all likelihood, impatient. Therefore Sparky may not have a lot of rope to work with. Which means City must get off to a good start. I don’t know how they’ll do that with no midfield. I suppose they could play the Football Manager-esque 4-2-4 formation.
The best way to look at this, as an observer, is to take a wait-and-see approach. I think City wants to be Chelsea v2.0 but with more than just the instantaneous success. To do that, they’ll have to develop from within as well as bringing in players who fill needs. I don’t think they’re doing that right now. What they have right now is a fantasy team that may or may not work out in real life. After all, fantasy teams are fantasy teams for a reason.