Next season sees the Premier League adopt new rules regarding squad sizes, and makes it’s worth having a look at what City’s squad might look like. These days a first choice 11 are rarely fit and available at the same time, so the importance of the squad is far greater, particularly when regularly playing mid-week.
With the Europa League to contend with, City could play 60 plus games in the season. No-one is going to play every game. 30 something games should be the optimum for any player, as Ferguson as shown with his squad rotation over recent years.
The new rules limit a squad to 25 senior players, with an unlimited number of U-21 players. Of the 25 seniors, 8 must be “home grown”. To qualify as home grown, a player must have spent 3 years playing in this country prior to being 21. For example, Shay Given and Stephen Ireland would therefore qualify.
Looking at the possible make-up of the squad gives a clearer insight on where Mancini might be looking to bring in new players, and who may be considered surplus to requirements.
Below is a speculative take on how it might look, with possible new signings. Players are listed in their primary positions, with their secondary ones in brackets.
- Joe Hart (home grown).
- Shay Given (home grown).
- Stuart Taylor (home grown). Gunnar Nielsen could be an alternative.
- Pablo Zabaleta (also midfield, left-back).
- Wayne Bridge (home grown).
- New left back – David Luiz (also central defence).
- New right back – Leonardo Bonucci. This position may be occupied by Boateng or Micah Richards.
- Vincent Kompany (also midfield).
- Joleon Lescott (home grown).
- Kolo Toure.
- Nedum Onuoha (home grown, also right-back).
- New central defender – Jerome Boateng (also right-back)
- Gareth Barry (home grown).
- Nigel de Jong.
- Michael Johnson (home grown).
- New defensive midfielder – Yaya Toure, Javi MartÃnez, Fernando Gago, Mathieu Flamini, Lassana Diarra.
- Stephen Ireland (home grown).
- New creative midfielder – James Milner (home grown, also winger), Steven Gerrard (home grown), Marek Hamsek, Mesut Ozil, Yoann Gourcuff.
- Adam Johnson (home grown).
- Craig Bellamy (home grown).
- Shaun Wright-Phillips (home grown).
- New winger – David Silva, Angel Di Maria.
- Emmanuel Adebayor (If sold, then Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Gonzalo Higuin, Mario Balotelli (also winger)).
- Carlos Tevez.
- New striker to replace Santa Cruz – Edzin Dzeko.
Additional U-21 players:
- Vladimir Weiss (possible loanee).
- Dedryck Boyata (possible loanee).
- Alex Nimely.
- David Ball.
- Abdisalam Ibrahim.
- Gregory Cunningham.
- Andrew Tutte.
- Karl Moore.
- Ryan McGivern (possible loanee).
- Gunnar Nielsen or Stuart Taylor.
- David Gonzalez.
- Kelvin Etuhu (home grown).
- Micah Richards (home grown).
- Martin Petrov.
- Javier Garrido.
- Roque Santa Cruz.
- Patrick Vieira.
- Javan Vidal (home grown).
- Felipe Caicedo.
- Valeri Bojinov.
- Shaleum Logan (home grown).
That’s 16 out and 7 in! Fitting the current players in with the positions we’re looking to strengthen throws up some interesting results.
For example, if we’re to sign Jerome Boateng and a new right back who’s strong in attacking, then it’s difficult to see how both Micah Richards and Nedum Onuoha can be accommodated. Particularly now that Zabaleta has established himself under Mancini.
Likewise, talk of both Bellamy and Wright-Phillips departing appears unlikely unless we bring in a host of wingers. Edzin Dzeko appears more likely to replace Santa Cruz as a target man than Adebayor.
There have been numerous creative players linked with City, but signing more than one may only be possible if Ireland departs, or if they can play down the flanks.
Talk of new contracts to Vieira and Sylvinho would complicate the squad even more as they’re unlikely to play regularly. Mancini likes to play two central midfielders with defensive qualities and could look to make a second addition. It will be interesting to see if Michael Johnson makes the 25 as one of four or five central midfielders.
It looks like we may see some signings this week, so I’ll look to update this list as and when they arrive.
- Who would be in your 25 senior players?