Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Blue Review: How are the new boys doing?

Are Pellegrini's signings up to the task? 

By Adam Bailey

As part of a new feature on The Sky Blue View, each writer will get their chance to bring their in-depth opinions to the table. From analysis to exclusive interviews, we are hoping to create a greater connection between ourselves and Manchester City. First up, Adam Bailey analyses the impact that Pellegrini's new players can bring to the table.

August the 19th. 

The date we've all penned into our diaries. The only date that matters this summer. The reunion with the love our lives; Manchester City.

Long gone is the summer of 2012. Regretfully, the Blues bought poorly and didn't replenish themselves with the necessary nutrients required to defend a Premier League crown. Fortunately, Mr.Pellegrini has ensured we'll have four new exciting players to keep our beady eyes on come Monday night. 

In preparation for the new season, myself and three of my top Twitter followers Leslie Owens, Will King and Adil Hussain got together to discuss what we think of the new recruits so far...


The reported fee for the midfielder who only has five caps for his country staggered everyone. It's fair to say that £30m for any player is a heavy fee and when they are unproven, it's even heavier. At first I prepared myself for another Jô-esque signing and muttered to myself 'typical City'.

However, his performances in pre-season immediately changed my mind. He fills the hole that Nigel De Jong left when he departed to Milan and although his approach may not be as bullish, his eye for a pass is second to none.

Rarely will the classy Brazilian lose the ball and his positioning allows Yaya Touré to push forward; something Roberto Mancini would never always allow. Admittedly, it is a heavy price, but Fernandinho is gradually convincing me it was money well spent.

Quiet but classy: Fernandinho in action against Arsenal last weekend
Photo: Official MCFC Facebook

What the others said....

Leslie: "With Fernandinho we get a box to box midfielder with Champions League experience. I've been really impressed with how he's linked up with Yaya Touré in the midfield so far. He's in the prime of his career and has a chip on his shoulder heading into a World Cup year."

William: "He’s going to be a real fan favourite this season.  He's already endearing himself towards the fans and looks like someone who really wants to play well for the club.  The fact that there’s a world cup coming up means he’ll be pushing even harder for a place in the Brazil squad which can only be a good thing for us. With him and Yaya Touré in the middle of the park this season it’s gonna be pretty scary for the opposition!"

Adil: "Quite possibly my favourite signing of the window so far. A lot of peoples main argument is where has he been for so long (If he is that good why has he been plying his trade in the Ukraine, hardly known for its spectacular football). We all saw him against Chelsea in the Champions League - a very impressive performance. Him and Yaya together will produce a dominant midfield performance against any team; be it England or in Europe. From what I've seen of Fernandinho so far I can say he has already fitted in perfectly. The best thing about him and Yaya playing alongside each other is that either can choose to attack whilst the other holds.

"Fernandinho has an amazing pass on him, He has some technical skills which we will see in the coming season (being Brazilian it is second nature). The thing that impressed me about him most is going in for tackles. He doesn't shy away which is a great sign for someome coming into the Premier League. Providing cover for Yaya whilst he is away at AFCON is another added bonus, not just because we have a replacement but because of what he can do."

Jesús Navas

Navas: Not just a speed demon
Photo: Official MCFC Facebook
Jesús Navas could now be the fastest man in the Premier League, but that's not the only attribute that makes him a perfect signing for Manchester City. The Spaniard loves to hug the touchline and has no fear when it comes to running at defenders. City have lacked width for years now and playing down the middle has restricted our options, making it easier for teams to cope with us.

The width Navas will bring us also makes the prospect of Edin Džeko and Álvaro Negredo even more exciting next season. The Bosnian, who everyone loved to hate last year, now has service and Jesús could bring us back the days of Shaun Wright Phillips.

What the others said....

Leslie: "Navas is going to be a key player for City as he is bringing in a lot of what we've been missing under Roberto Mancini. I'm impressed with his crossing ability and blistering pace down the touch line. The width he brings in will open up plenty of opportunities for all of our strikers including Negredo and Jovetić."

William: "This guy is going to terrorise full backs throughout Europe this season, let alone the Premier League.  He has pace, he has skill, he has intelligence he has everything you’d want in a winger and in the friendlies he’s been involved in he looks like he has bags of confidence.

I love the way he goes around people and as soon as he picks the ball up you know he’s going to cause problems for the opposition.  I think he’s going to be our best signing this season. I think he could score nine to ten goals this season but his assists will be right up there with the best in the league."

Adil: "Navas is someone we have been crying out for not just last season, but the season we won the league as well. Yes, we had Adam Johnson but he didn't have the pace to match Navas. Wide play is something we will benefit from now, aiding the tall forwards waiting in the box. From the short time we have seen Navas at City I can say he has become a favourite for the fans.

"I can't wait to see him terrorise defenders in the league. He has a lot of experience at International level and I don't see him having any problems fitting in at City. His pace will provide much needed support on the wing and also when chasing back, this will be a benefit for Pablo Zabaleta."

Álvaro Negredo

Another I had my doubts about, but he's swiftly removed them. His performances in pre-season have provided a great deal of encouragement and the tussle for first team appearances between himself, Edin Džeko and Sergio Agüero next season will be mouthwatering. Not many attackers have the strength to shrug off the likes of Laurent Koscielny and Javi Martínez, but our man Álvaro certainly does.

He may pass up a few chances, but you get the impression he won't quit. His aerial abilities combined with his strength will give Premier League defenders another top striker to deal with next season and having Jesús Navas on the wing will definitely make him feel at home.

The battering ram? Negredo celebrates after scoring City's only goal vs Bayern Munich
Photo: Official MCFC Facebook

What the others said....

Leslie: "Negredo is the perfect striker in a sense that he will shoot and won't get down on his misses as he knows he is going to score. With the upgrade in talent around the new signings, they will turn into stars."

Will: "He has been really impressive in the pre-season games, looking for the ball all the time and not scared of running with the ball.  He’s linked up well with Džeko as well which I think gives us more options when coming up against physical sides like Stoke and Everton (two grounds we have struggled with away from home). 

He looks really eager to impress and has a good work ethic so I think he’ll be a success this season.  I’d expect him to bag around 15 goals for us which would be a pretty good return for someone in their first season."

Adil: "Negredo is what he is; a box to box striker. All his goals last season came from different areas of the box, however I think we have seen something extra to his game in pre-season. The ability to run with the ball and use his strength ward off defenders, like he did against Martínez and in the Barclays Asia Cup. 

Surprisingly, he isn't a slouch either. He showed he could run with a decent pace and his biggest attribute has to be his positioning in the box. He seems to know exactly where to catch a cross. Having his old team-mate Navas providing service can only be a positive. Once he hits some finishing form he will be an invaluable member of the attack."

Stevan Jovetić

I don't class Jovetić as one of four strikers. For me, he'll be operating on the left and cutting inside. His natural creativity will make that position easy for him to occupy and with Navas on the right, he'll provide some much needed balance.

It's a top signing, but pre-season has left me with a lot of questions - though none of them negative. I still think we've got a lot to see from Jovetić. He has the potential to be a Premier League legend, but Pellegrini has the unenviable task of deciding where he'll fit into the squad. He's an exciting option and should knock up a number of goals and assists in the 2013/2014 season.

The young creator: Jovetic glides past Thiago in the Audi Cup Final
Photo: Official MCFC Facebook

What the others said....

Leslie: "Jovetić is a team player and likes to play off the striker while also making runs that remind me of Tevez. Great passing skills and can bring in a few goals."

William: "I think he might be the weaker of our summer signings only because he’ll be competing with the most players for a place in the starting 11 – Silva, Yaya Touré, Nasri, Negredo, Džeko and Agüero.  His versatility might be a bit of a hindrance for him.  That said, he’s looked really intelligent on the ball and seems to have settled in well with his new team mates."

Adil: "I was unsure about Jovetić's involvment if I'm honest as I didn't think we needed anyone else to play behind the striker. He has appeared on the left wing and from what I saw this seems to be the better option for him as he is quick, strong and direct. 

"Dare I say it he reminded me of a young Carlos Tevez in the short role he played in both the Milan and Bayern game. It maybe too early to say but i'll leave that for him to answer."

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You can also follow Adam on Twitter: @Dembe_MCFC

(c) The Sky Blue View 2013

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