After what was a frustrating campaign for us last season, the addition of new players to the squad could be the catalyst that we need to recapture our Premier League crown.
What’s been said?
There was one area of the team that was heavily misfiring, and that was at the back. Manager Pep Guardiola has reconfigured this and made his move in the transfer market.
Nathan Ake was quickly shipped in from Bournemouth for £41m and put pen to paper on a five-year contract at the Etihad Stadium, which was a clever signing for us to make.
The Dutchman admitted that he was taken by surprise following our interest from us, having just been relegated with the Cherries during the 2019/20 campaign. Despite this, our spirits were not deterred as he was our first signing of the summer.
Injuries have been a huge problem for us at the back. Aymeric Laporte missed a huge chunk last year because of this with midfielders Rodri and Fernandinho filling in on occasions in the centre-back role.
Speaking to The Mirror, Ake revealed what his job will be in Guardiola’s side with two weeks to go until our curtain-raiser against Wolverhampton Wanderers.
“I have been working with a physical coach for ages at City,” he explained. “I have been told to focus on several positions at the back, but that is fine with me. I am going for it. I have grown up in the Premier League in a brilliant way.
“I have not signed for City thinking I can prove all the critics wrong. I have already proved to myself that I can play at the top level – and I love a challenge.
Ake continued. “I showed that when I was a kid playing in my hometown in the Hague and I moved to Rotterdam to join Feyenoord. I showed it again when I packed my stuff and moved to Chelsea.
“I have had to work incredibly hard to make it to the top – and I know I am ready. I have also achieved my dream of playing for Holland.”
To me, this is an indication that we do not plan on bringing in another defender this summer, which could find us with our hands tied once again if we come across any fitness issues once more.
Laporte’s injury was a bad one, and there is a risk that he could suffer a similar fate if we are not careful. With John Stones, Eric Garcia and Nicholas Otamendi in reserve, the strength in depth is not as great as I would like.
Yes, Ake coming in as a versatile player is a good thing. But there is always the risk that playing in various roles rather than playing well in one position can see his form fluctuate over time, as we saw with Fabian Delph towards the back end of his time with us.
Of course, time will tell as to how well he does. But at this stage, it seems as if there is a lot of pressure on the lad to come in and perform at a high level almost immediately, whilst playing in three different positions.