We all know it.
There is going to be a major squad overhaul this summer.
Half our squad are nearly old enough to be EDS dads so which players are on their way?
Here we take a humorous and sometimes irreverent look into our future to try to figure it out. This is a world of fickle fans, unscrupulous agents, declining skills, advancing years and loyal servants.
There are players out of contract, those who’ve been sent out on loan, those no longer worth their place and a few youngsters who are agitating for game time.
Who is likely to leave this summer?
Out on Loan (Thanks for the memories!)
Those who are already out on loan and very unlikely to return are: Joe Hart, Samir Nasri, Wilfried Bony, Eliaquim Mangala and Jason Denayer.
This lot are still on our books but deemed surplus to requirements by our coach. Some might love to have a couple of them back but it rarely happens. Once a proud man has been jilted, it is often beneath him to return. A man, after all, has his pride.
Joe Hart (29 years old): Exit Rating: 10/10
We have shed the tears. The milk’s been spilt. Our super Joey Hart is now an ex-parrot. He is no more. He has ceased to be. He’s expired and gone to meet Torino. (Ok, I’ll stop with the Monty Python…) He’s clearly better than Bravo with his hands but he does not possess the fancy footwork desired by Pep. It has also been argued that like Zlatan at Barcelona, Joe was too much of a powerful personality in the dressing room and the manager needs all his choirboys to sing from the same hymn sheet. Joe saw Pep coming from a long way off, but did not seem to change his approach to groundwork that much. Perhaps he knew the writing was on the wall. There looks to be no way back for Joe. In the end, it was rather a quiet riot that the club had on its hands.
Samir Nasri (29 years old): Exit rating 8/10
Let me try to channel my inner Ian Holloway by saying that the Nasri situation is a little bit like the girl you fancy who’s just not that into you. Apparently Pep wanted Samir to stay. We wanted him to stay. He’s clearly still got the magic: we saw this at the end of last season and we are seeing it now at Sevilla. But Pep made the mistake of calling him fat, something you should never say to your paramour. He also could not guarantee a regular starting berth. So Samir accepted the advances of a Spanish suitor and bade us all adieu. And I am sad. Nasri was the business.
Wilfried Bony (30 years old): Exit Rating 11/10
Yes, you read that right. Exit rating 11/10. That’s right. Just like Nigel Tufnell in Spinal Tap we can and we will have a button that can be dialled to 11. What were we thinking with Wilf? Well, he was quite the goal machine for Swansea before we made him one of our most expensive signings in January 2015. He’d scored 25 goals for Swansea the season before and 9 more in the new season before we snapped him up. Seemed like a no-brainer. But this kids, is an object lesson in why you need to be very cautious about January signings. Bony wilted under the pressure to perform at City, having not played on the highest stage before. Wilf’s gone!
Eliaquim Mangala (25 years old): Exit Rating: 9/10
Oh, Manga! You teased us with that early doors performance against Chelsea. A tour-de-force of athleticism and power. You could put big target men in your pocket (Hi, Diego!) but you flattered to deceive! At 25, tall, imposing and with the physique of a super middleweight champion of the ring, we felt sure we had our guy. But once more, those wily rascals at Porto, as they often do, did a Del-boy and sold us a dummy at an outrageous price. Portuguese teams have being doing this for years all over Europe. They are past masters. Just as in Holland, their players look awesome in their own league. But when the icy wind of England’s green and pleasant land first slaps their face, they often visibly shrink before your very eyes. Bye, Manga!
Jason Denayer (21 years old): Exit Rating: 8/10
The young Belgian really looks the part physically and for many, he was viewed as the potential perfect successor for Big Vince. However Jason’s on his third loan spell now having yet to win the confidence of recent City bosses. His performances for Sunderland thus far have been a bit underwhelming too, although for him, it’s better than warming the bench or making up numbers. My guess is that unless the Black Cats make the deal permanent, Denayer will be on his way elsewhere in the summer. Shame!
Your contract is up!
Those out of contract at the end of the season are:
Jesus Navas, Gael Clichy, Yaya Toure, Pablo Zabaleta, Bacary Sagna and Willy Caballero.
Can a case be made for extending the contracts of any of these loyal servants? These chaps are all over 30 but do have precious experience. Does Pep take the risk of losing all that know-how?
Jesus Navas (31 years old): Exit rating: GONE
It may have seemed there was room for only one ‘Jesus’ at the Etihad. Navas seemed set to be heading back to Sevilla. City fans admire his pace and work-rate but sadly, as an out-and-out winger, his final ball hits the post, the first defender, row Z or simply shoots off like a meteor into the night sky. However Navas has been rebooted as a second choice right back and stands a good chance of a one year extension.
Gael Clichy (31 years old): Exit rating: GONE
Au revoir, Monsieur Clichy! The fact that the Frenchman has mostly been an understudy to Kolarov tells you all you need to know. In his prime Clichy was tidy and effective although with a maddening tendency to make progress up the wing, only to turn and come back again to deliver a sideways pass. Nowadays, a yard or two of pace has been lost and the number of costly gaffes has increased.
Pablo Zabaleta (32 years old): Exit rating: GONE
The fire still burns so brightly in the mind and the heart of our legendary and often bloodied warrior. He’s like John Cleese’s famous ‘Black Knight.’ You can cut his arms off. You can cut his legs off. But he will still rage ‘Pah! It’s only a flesh wound! Come back and take what’s coming to you!’ Sadly the hands of time wait for no man and our vice captain will surely say thank you and goodnight before a move, most likely to West Ham or the slower pace of Football Italia. Buena suerte, amigo!
Yaya Toure (33 years old): Exit rating: 6/10
Yaya has been immense in more ways than one as we all know but the big Ivorian is on even bigger wages and despite his superb passing range, perfect penalties and the occasional ‘worldie’ that I’m sure he still has in his locker, Yaya’s inability to get up and down the pitch would surely be a liability against Europe’s finest.
However Yaya is having quite the ‘Indian summer’. There is a possibility that Pep might retain him as an impact sub if he accepts a significant wage reduction but it’s questionable whether his svengali agent Mr. Seluk would agree to that. There would for sure be no shortage of takers from former European heavyweights who have fallen on hard times to the fat cats in China or possibly the US so there’s no need for Toure to tighten his belt financially just for another season with us.
Pep’s bombed him out before when he was a much younger man at Barcelona so we will have to wait to know if the big man gets renewed. Does he deserve another year? Most definitely. Sign him up! Let him eat cake!
Bacary Sagna (33 years old): Exit rating: GONE
Despite his age, Sagna remains an extremely efficient full back. He has great defensive strength and you rarely see him make too many mistakes that lead to goals. He may not bomb forward and deliver those beautiful crosses quite the way he used to do but Bacary would be reliable cover for the main right back. It is simply unrealistic these days that you can hope to maintain a harmonious squad if both players for each position demand to be number one. Like others in this list, Sagna would be realistic enough to know that at his age, he won’t be the main choice next season but with the attraction of better wages than he’d get elsewhere and the promise of silverware, an extended deal at City is his best option. Sign him up! (But disable his Instagram account for 24 hours after the match:)
Willy Caballero (35 years old): Exit rating: GONE
Not much wrong with ‘Big Willie’. Arguably, our penalty-saving hero has a good chance of a new deal as at the age of 35, he has no delusions about being top dog either. Every team needs a reliable deputy to the number one. He is popular, reliable, speaks good Spanish (always an advantage at City) and knows how to stop shots from crossing that white line. He’ll do for me and in all likelihood for Pep too providing he’s happy to stay on. Sign him up!
In this category we have those with a a year or more left on their current deal but have failed to convince large sections of our support or never did in the first place.
These guys are vulnerable and deserve a section on our list of those who might have to say goodbye.
Aleks Kolarov (31 years old): Exit Rating 5/10
If there is one player whom the majority of City fans are agreed on, it his Kolarov. In short, they want him to scoot. This is a great shame as Aleks has been a great servant to the club and still possesses that sweet left foot. He can pass the ball beautifully across the pitch or into the box from wide left. He has also been known to knock grown men cold with his cannonball of a shot. The combination of the best bits of Navas and Kolarov would be one outstanding winger!
Unfortunately, Kolarov earns his pay as a defender. That means you have to defend. If Aleks were at the end of his contract he’d definitely be a goner but he has another year and he is a pretty decent makeshift centre back when called upon. My suspicion is he’ll see out his time. And if you haven’t yet seen it, you are truly missing something in Kolarov’s truly terrifying rendition of ‘Jingle Bells’ on the official City website. He deserves to stay on just for that!
Fernando Reges (29 years old): Exit Rating: 6/10
Fernando is like cheese ‘n’ onion crisps. Everybody likes him.
The Octopus rarely gets game time, except to see out a match when we are 3 or 4 goals to the good. The reason he is on this list is that given his relative lack of impact, Pep may well choose to trade him in for a younger model.
On the other hand, the club put out a lot of publicity shots when Gabriel Jesus arrived, showing our 3 Brazilians happy together.
If we were feeling slightly cynical, we might be persuaded that Fernando gets another year to help ‘The Watermelon’ in adapting to life at City.
Fabian Delph (30 years old): Exit Rating: 6/10
Seemed like a surprising buy at the time but of course we were hemorrhaging Englishmen at a rate of knots and the FA have ordered that we have at least a few of our chaps in the squad, this being Blighty and all that.
The man with the most amusing voice in the football world has spent most of his time with the physios so we haven’t had a real good look at him. But the hard fact is that we only have Raheem, Angus, Adarabioyo and John Stones as fellow Poms. If Pep wants to upgrade, he’d better get ready to blow the dust out of that wallet and be prepared to get fleeced due to the ridiculous cost of young English talent.
Claudio Bravo (33 years old): Exit Rating: 7/10
What? The Chilean’s only been here 5 minutes. He’s won everything in the game. He’s captain of his country with 110 appearances! Barcelona were sad to see him go. All true. But unless Bravo bucks his ideas up soon, he’ll surely be heading off to warmer climes. As much as we respect the great man, you can’t keep shipping goals no matter what your name is. The Hologram has got to the end of the season to redeem himself!
In normal weather and in more sensible times, we’d never put these names and the word ‘transfer’ in the same sentence. But it’s silly season for journos and Pep can be pretty unpredictable.
Tosin Adarabioyo (19 years old): Exit Rating: 7/10
Young Mr.unpronounceable-name (too many vowels) has been listening far too much to the late great Queen frontman Freddie Mercury and like Fred, he wants it all and he wants it now! Everton are sniffing around and batting their eyelashes. It’d be a shame to lose Tosin, but at the tender age of 19 he may possibly have a slightly unrealistic agent representing him right now.
Kelechi Iheanacho (20 years old): Exit Rating: 6/10
Not completely dissimilar to the situation with Tosin, except Kelechi and his Dad (according to recent reports) are not agitating for a move. We like that! However can the youngster with the best goals-to-minutes-played-ratio-in-the-universe really see himself getting a kick over Aguero or Jesus? He’d need a particularly powerful telescope (or Kele-scope, hehe!) to do so.
Sergio Aguero (28 years old): Exit Rating: 6/10
If this is true then I have to quote W.H. Auden:
The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
For nothing now can ever come to any good.
The unthinkable has suddenly become thinkable with the arrival of Gabriel Jesus.
It seems some feel Sergio doesn’t work his butt off the way the kid does. Then there was that clandestine late night meeting with Pep (and Sergio’s agent). Is something afoot?
Could we really be killing Bambi?
Mr. 93:20 himself???????????????
RTs, follows and comments @boltfromablue are much appreciated.