Perhaps expectations were too high in some quarters, but it would be difficult to claim that Pep Guardiola’s first season at the Etihad Stadium lived up to the pre-season hype.
This season can be put down as a learning process as Pep adjusted to the rigours of English football, but the pressure will be on to secure silverware and to be more competitive at the top of the Premier League and in Europe next term.
As such, speculation is already rife as to a summer of comings and goings at the Etihad, with the bulk of the early transfer speculation has been focused on the full-back positions.
SkyBet has long been renowned as the top bookmaker for pricing player transfers and, with a quick check of Sky Bet mobile, you will see that they have a whole host of prices up for potential City transfers over the summer.
The two players that they deem to be odds-on shots to be on City’s books next season are Tottenham Hotspur’s Kyle Walker and Southampton’s Ryan Bertrand, with the pair being priced up at 4/9 and 8/11 respectively. Walker’s current teammate, Danny Rose, is seen as an alternative to Bertrand and is priced at 5/2.
Other full-backs said to be under consideration include Arsenal right-back Hector Bellerin, Benfica right-back Nelson Semedo, Juventus left-back Alex Sandro, Monaco’s Benjamin Mendy and Sead Kolasinac of Schalke. OK, so it seems that new full-backs are deemed to be something of a priority.
With a reported budget of £200 million+ to spend, there will be additions elsewhere and one name that is constantly linked of late is that of Arsenal striker Alexis Sanchez. The Chilean (who is available on the SkyBet app at 2/1 for a City transfer) would certainly cost well north of £50 million and you would have to think that his arrival could well signal the departure of Sergio Aguero.
Another likely departure is Joe Hart and with Willy Caballero out of contract at the end of the season and Claudio Bravo having had a far from convincing first season between the sticks, another goalkeeper would seem almost certain.
Jordan Pickford (9/1), Jack Butland (10/1) and Kasper Schmeichel (14/1) are all potential targets, but the odds on SkyBet mobile suggest that none is seen as a prime target. A reunion with Victor Valdes, available on a free transfer from Middlesbrough, might be more in line with Guardiola’s thinking, at least as a back-up custodian.
Another area of concern has been central defence and a quick perusal using SkyBet for Android brings up several potential targets. Ben Gibson is a 5/1 punt, as is Southampton’s Virgil van Dijk. Burnley’s Michael Keane is 20/1, although that’s a move that would be contentious given his previous club.
Again, this is an area where City might well have a target not as yet listed in the betting on the SkyBet app. Juventus stopper Leonardo Bonucci was heavily linked a year ago and could again be a target.
Elsewhere, Guardiola has spoken in glowing terms of Jack Wilshere and the Arsenal midfielder is priced at just 5/1 with SkyBet to move to the Etihad over the summer.
There have been a few potential marquee signings mentioned, with Monaco sensation Kylian Mbappe available at 10/1, Dele Alli at 7/1, Neymar 20/1 and a certain Lionel Messi at 7/1. If anyone can attract players of that calibre, Guardiola is the man.
In terms of exits, in addition to Caballero, Yaya Toure, Pablo Zabaleta, Gael Clichy, Bacary Sagna and Jesus Navas will all be free agents in the summer. Almost any bids for the likes of Eliaquim Mangala, Samir Nasri, Wilfried Bony and Jason Denayer are also likely to be meet with a positive response, as much to trim the wage bill as for any transfer fees received.
Kelechi Iheanacho, Fabian Delph and Fernando are others who could potentially be on their way for the right price.
With no major international tournaments this summer, betting on City transfers can be an enjoyable and potentially profitable way of passing time until the new season kicks-off. The Sky Bet app already has plenty of potential City deals that could be worth a flutter.