With the acquisitions of Jesus Navas from Sevilla and Fernandinho from Shakhtar Donetsk for around a combined £54 million, Manchester City is sending a clear message early in the summer transfer season.
The first signal of the two signings is that although not official as of yet, these signings have the placid acceptance and approval of Manuel Pellegrini, the man expected to be named the next manager of the club. Pellegrini’s Malaga team was characterized by being a team that played with tactical precision, speed and attacking versatility. These two players help contribute to that style of play.
The second signal that the signings represent, is that of adding quality depth to a team that can realistically compete in the Premier League and UEFA Champions League. In the last two editions of Champions League play, Manchester City has struggled in part because of a lack of quality play from the midfield.
With Navas and Fernandinho, Manchester City can now add depth, but more importantly speed to their midfield when playing in the Champions League competition. Instead of having to field a midfield of Yaya Toure, Gareth Barry or Javi Garcia, David Silva and/or Samir Nasri, Navas may come into the side replacing Nasri with Fernandinho replacing Barry or Garcia. Immediately, that midfield would offer more of an attacking threat and do a better job protecting the defense.
A big issue for Manchester City in Premier League play, was an inability for the midfield to help generate a consistent attacking threat in a number of games. And when that attacking midfielder was needed off the bench, Roberto Mancini was hard pressed to bring one on as a substitution given all he had were more defensive midfielders, partly to his doing.
Presuming it’s Pellegrini who is the next manager, there will be options to call upon from the bench to give the midfield the necessary attacking lift and/or defensive balance depending on the flow of the game. The need to add depth and have a depth of options for league play is satisfied by the signings of Navas and Fernandinho.
The signings of Navas and Fernadinho, aside from adding two quality midfield players to a team that finished second in the league, have signaled a clear direction for Manchester City. Their signings reflect choices of a potential incoming manager’s style of play, understanding of what was needed to make the team better and the type of players the club are targeting in the summer transfer market.