Manchester City Aren't Rushing In The Market, But Should They Be?

City have only made one major signing in the window so far
09:00, 26 Jul 2023

Heavy is the head that wears the crown. That’s what they say. But for the team that was crowned English football’s second-ever treble winners last season, perhaps that should be heavy is the wallet. Manchester City top the Deloitte Money League as the richest football club in the world. Yet, in the wake of their greatest ever triumph, they have signed just one player so far this summer.

Sir Alex Ferguson has gone on record as saying one of his greatest regrets is not buying from a position of strength after winning the treble with Manchester United in 1999. Mikael Silvestre, Quinton Fortune, Mark Bosnich and Massimo Taibi were Ferguson’s haul in the season following the club’s greatest triumph. Of those, only Silvestre was an unqualified success, making 361 appearances and winning multiple trophies in nine years at the club. Fortune was primarily a back-up utility man, though he is fondly remembered. Bosnich was one of the worst goalkeepers United ever signed. Taibi was the worst goalkeeper United ever signed.


Ferguson was renowned for not buying off-the-rack superstars very often. But the fact only one of his four post-treble buys caught on as a first-teamer still irks the Scotsman. It couldn’t stop United winning the 1999-2000 Premier League title, but they wouldn’t lift the Champions League again for nine years.

Like United, City have a team already overflowing with top-tier talent. Mateo Kovacic, signed from Chelsea, addresses a need created by Ilkay Gundogan departing for Barcelona. Do City need to go much further than that in terms of their purchases? 

Considering what the teams nipping at their heels have been up to, it might not be as simple as resting on their laurels for City. Manager Pep Guardiola will be acutely aware that Arsenal in particular are a very different proposition now. After running the Citizens close last term, they have added quality with club record signing Declan Rice, Kai Havertz and Jurrien Timber joining.


Arch-rivals United are being uncharacteristically quick in the market too. Andre Onana and Mason Mount have addressed two problem positions, with negotiations taking place over striker Rasmus Hojlund and midfielder Sofyan Amrabat.

Liverpool have remapped their midfield, adding Dominik Szoboslai and Alexis Mac Allister to the side with Southampton’s Romeo Lavia potentially to come. Chelsea are conducting their much-needed clearout, boast a top-notch new coach in Mauricio Pochettino and have added forwards Christopher Nkunku and Nicolas Jackson. Then there is the nouveau-riche Newcastle United who are embarking on another season of bumper spending headlined by Sandro Tonali.

Despite enjoying a surprisingly quiet window so far, City still have the best squad in the league. But it is more than likely they will add to it, even if it isn’t as extravagant as previous windows. Josko Gvardiol is being sought from RB Leipzig to bolster the defence. If Kyle Walker makes his expected move to Bayern Munich then there is talk of a move for Achraf Hakimi.

Would this count as striking while the iron is hot, like Ferguson regrets not doing many moons ago? Certainly the likes of Gvardiol and Hakimi would improve the side while Kovacic is an able player if not a needle-mover. But there is a sense that Guardiola is happiest leaning on what he has. The players he has worked tirelessly to mould to his style. This is a club that has held off the rest of the league, with a couple of exceptions, for the entirety of Guardiola’s reign. Can they do it again without a big summer? We might just find out.

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