By Ollie Irish
City are building something amazing… but is it a team ?
Goalkeepers – Joe Hart appears to have taken over from Shay Given as the new No.1. What a tough call for Given, who has done nothing wrong since he was signed by Mark Hughes last year, and is still a fine keeper. But Hart is younger, shinier, more promising – and he represents change, and a perceived upgrade. Which is the way City seem to work now: don’t give the players you have time to settle, not if there’s a better version out there who costs twice as much. Given may leave then. In Arsene Wenger’s shoes, I would do whatever it takes to bring the 34-year-old Irishman in on a two-year deal, or a loan deal at least. As it is, I think Given will stay and win his place back. Journeyman Stuart Taylor is there as back-up, and Colombian David Gonzalez too, though Gonzalez may be sold by the end of the month, as City really must trim their bloated squad.
Defenders – Germany’s Jerome Boateng had a fine World Cup and is a progressive signing (who can play anywhere in the back four). Ditto Alexsander Kolarov, who is set to become City’s first-choice left-back. Neither came cheap, but both will add much-needed dynamism to City’s iffy defence.
The other men in the frame to make up City’s starting back four are slightly more familiar and should benefit from some playing time together: club captain Kolo Toure, Joleon Lescott, Wayne Bridge, Vincent Kompany and Micah Richards. It’s not the most convincing defensive roster in the league, so promising teenagers Greg Cunningham and Dedryck Boyata may find themselves thrown in at the deep end.
Highly rated centre-back David Luiz might also join from Benfica before August is over.
Midfielders – Signing David Silva was a real coup and I look forward to seeing the little Spaniard shred ponderous full-backs at will. With England’s Adam Johnson on the other flank, City can cause serious damage down the flanks.
Central midfield is an even stronger area this season, with the addition of the freakishly talented – and freakishly expensive – Yaya Toure. Yaya will use his considerable muscle to fight for playing time with Patrick Vieira, Nigel de Jong, Gareth Barry. That battle will be fierce, but I see City’s first-choice midfield looking something like this: David Silva –