Deadline Day. The January 2019 Transfer Window has closed. Whilst some of Manchester City’s opponents made changes to their squads, the Blues remain unchanged. As of 20:30 GMT/15:30 EST on 31 January, no official transfer announcements were made on Manchester City’s social media outlets.
With the window shut, the Blues will need to make some serious changes this summer. Tuesday’s shocking result against Newcastle United dealt a significant blow to City’s title defence, and although there are still 14 EPL games to play, City fans can be forgiven for thinking Liverpool is on course to win their first English Premier League title.
Should this be the case, City can turn to the EFL “Carabao” Cup, the FA Cup and the UEFA Champions League in order to potentially win silverware this season. These options, however, overshadow City’s woes in defence this season.
First, as previously stated, a full back is one of City’s highest priorities. A common occurrence in the losses against Crystal Palace, Leicester City and Newcastle United was that the full backs were at fault for several of these goals.
In the match against Palace, Kyle Walker failed to close down Jeffrey Schlupp for the match’s equaliser. Walker also conceded a penalty after fouling Max Meyer inside the box, resulting in what would be the game winning goal for the Eagles.
Similarly, in the match against Leicester, Fabian Delph lost his marker as Marc Albrighton headed home an equaliser. The Foxes eventually went on to win this fixture with a late goal scored by Ricardo Pereira.
Finally, in the game against Newcastle, a poor pass by Danilo saw Fernandinho concede an unnecessary penalty in the box. The Magpies scored from the penalty spot and won the game.
Acquiring a proper full back will address City’s recent frailties in defence, with Leicester City’s Ben Chilwell being favoured to move to Manchester this summer. Southampton’s Ryan Bertrand, among others, has also been rumoured.
City’s second well-known issue is the lack of a second holding midfielder. Like the full back issue, John Stones and Fernandinho were at fault for opposition goals scored in the matches against Leicester City and Newcastle United, respectively.
Having lost out to Frenkie De Jong, the Blues will have to turn to other targets. Wolverhampton Wanderers’ Ruben Neves and Hajduk Split’s Ante Palaversa have been rumored to be Fernandinho’s replacement. (Media outlets are reporting the Blues have signed Palaversa, although this has yet to be confirmed by City’s official channels.)
Regardless of the names on their transfer target list, however, City face a major issue. Over the past several months, the Union of European Football Associations (known as UEFA) has been investigating allegations claiming Manchester City violated the organization’s financial fair play rules.
Whilst minor actions would see the club face a financial punishment, more severe penalties would see the English club banned from the UEFA Champions League for at least a season. City could also be barred from future transfer activity, which would hinder the development of their squad as well.
This would be a serious blow to City’s recruitment campaign, as their targets may be reluctant to join the club should they be disqualified from Europe’s most elite club competition. Moreover, should City face a severe punishment, they would miss out on the riches gained from the competition. This would affect the amount of money City could spend on potential targets, as well as the wages that would need to be paid for these future acquisitions.
City remain firm they did not violate any of these terms.
With a lot at stake, City will have to await the verdict of this investigation. Only then will they be allowed to proceed to their future transfer activities.