Man City and Chelsea most expensive current combined XI
Holly Thackeray | 3 December 2016
Coral’s Man City and Chelsea most expensive combined XI
Big spenders Manchester City and Chelsea collide this weekend with the Premier League title at stake. Clashes between the two nouveau riche clubs have a habit of being billed unofficially as ‘El Plastico’ due to the huge investment and foreign ownership of both sides.
Whether this is fair in an era when the majority of PL clubs now barely blink at breaking the £20m barrier for players and boast ‘sugar daddy’ owners galore is up for debate, but still the reputation remains.
So, considering the prolific spending of these two teams over at least the last decade or so, ahead of their upcoming tussle, Coral football writers have come up with a most expensive combined XI from current Man City (11/10 to win) and Chelsea (5/2) squads from players not on loan.
Many of the stars included are also both teams’ all-time priciest players. But, does carrying the biggest price-tag necessarily make this the best combined XI available?
Goalkeeper: Claudio Bravo (Manchester City)Brought in from Barcelona to be a goalkeeping playmaker extraordinaire in Pep Guardiola’s free-flowing City system, Bravo has had more criticism than most since his 2016 summer arrival, due to being seen to push out Sky Blues golden boy Joe Hart.
Chile custodian Bravo was bought for £15.4m, which is a premium price for a post protector. The South American has so far conceded 14 in as many Man City matches across all competitions, keeping just three clean sheets. Guardiola could yet rue leaving Hart out in the cold, and opposite number for Chelsea Thibaut Courtois has also had questions asked of him this season, but for under £10m he is a comparative steal.
Right back: Branislav Ivanovic (Chelsea)Ivanovic joined the Blues for around £9m-10m in 2008, which makes him more expensive than City pair Pablo Zabaleta and Bacary Sagna. Used at both right back and centre half, the Serbian has arguably been worth every penny after helping the Londoners to lift two PL titles, a Champions League trophy and three FA Cups.
Though, after almost a decade of service, Ivanovic looks to have no place in Antonio Conte’s new three at the back system with wing backs.
Centre back: John Stones (Manchester City)From Barnsley to Everton and finally now to the Citizens, Stones was one of Guardiola’s most glamorous 2016 summer signings, pegged to be the ball playing centre back that any club coached by the Catalan must have.
At times the 22-year-old has looked a snug fit in Man City’s side and justified his whopping reported £47.5m fee, with composed and incisive passing from the back. But, at other times, the young defender has also looked like a defensive liability for the Sky Blues, and also for England, so the jury is still out on the former Toffees talent.
Centre back: David Luiz (Chelsea)Luiz is a tricky one. Originally flogged to PSG by the Blues for a world record fee of around £50m, Antonio Conte brought the Brazil international back to Stamford Bridge last summer.
There are also conflicting reports over the Samba Boy’s price-tag but it is believed to be £34m for his second stint in west London, which places the curly-haired centre half above City’s expensive duo Eliaquim Mangala and Nicolas Otamendi, who were £32m apiece.
Though, if you consider how much the Blues flogged Luiz for originally, he comes out as much cheaper. Still far from a bargain, adventurous Luiz boasts a cracking set-piece on him but has been known for more than the odd blunder. Working in a back three under Cote, however, has seen the South American impressing in recent weeks.
Left back: Marcos Alonso (Chelsea)Alonso was acquired for a fee in the region of £20m in summer 2016, as Conte captured the Spaniard from Serie A, where he had been plying his trade for Fiorentina.
A returnee to English shores after brief spells with Bolton Wanderers and Sunderland, Alonso has taken to Chelsea’s team like a duck to water, although not exactly in his traditional left back role. Pushed forward as a wing back, the 25-year-old has provided danger and width down the flanks, forcing cheaper Caesar Azpilicueta out of his spot.
Right attacking midfield: Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City)Now we come on to Man City’s record signing so far, De Bruyne. The Belgium sensation has added an extra dimension to the Sky Blues’ attack since his Etihad arrival from Wolfsburg in 2015.
The Belgian (6/4 to score anytime against his old club) is now one of the most potent playmaker’s in the world as a regular match-winner with 19 goals and 24 assists in 59 City appearances in all competitions. He’s certainly given Chelsea food for thought for letting him leave the Bridge, and cost a pretty penny more than clubmate’s Jesus Navas and Leroy Sane, plus more than compatriot Eden Hazard.
Central midfield: Fernandinho (Manchester City)Brazilian defensive shield Fernandinho was a big buy for deep midfield at around £30m in 2013, and has had a mixed time at Man City. Still, he’s now become a surprise mainstay under Guardiola with 20 outings across all competitions, and does his job plugging holes and recycling play adeptly.
The fee still seems steep, as he cost more than Chelsea midfielder Nemanja Matic, Ilkay Gundogan and Cesc Fabregas, who are much handier at picking out a pass, but the South American is an underrated key cog.
Central midfield: N’Golo Kante (Chelsea)Kante was also captured for £30m, but this time for Chelsea and is slowly becoming ever more crucial for Conte and co. The engine room enforcer was a snip for Leicester City from Caen for a peanuts price of £6m and, after winning the PL, it was no surprise he was flogged by the Foxes for much more.
There’s nobody else at City or Chelsea, and very few in the world, who can dominate the pitch and break up play like this Frenchman.
Left attacking midfield: Raheem Sterling (Manchester City)Sterling is still yet to truly hit the levels expected of him, but looks to have found a new lease of life under Guardiola at City since his £44m switch from Liverpool in 2015.
Combined with lacklustre international outings for England, Sterling has not yet made Anfield miss him and could realistically see his old club lift the PL title ahead of him this term.
In the shadow of De Bruyne, who arrived that same summer, Sterling is also more expensive than recent Sky Blues arrival Nolito, who has had a similar impact this season.
Centre forward: Sergio Aguero (Manchester City)In the current market, Aguero now looks a steal at £38m from Atletico Madrid after spending five full seasons at the Mancunian club and showing no signs of slowing in his sixth.
A two-time Premier League winner, Aguero has done more than most to fire the Sky Blues to success. A pinch more expensive than £32m man Diego Costa, also Atleti alumni, the Argentina international is a bonafide superstar and you don’t get many of those for under £50m these days.
Centre forward: Michy Batshuayi (Chelsea)Next most expensive frontman from both squads is Batshuayi, who has barely had a chance at Chelsea since his summer 2016 transfer.
Much is expected of the former Marseille marksman, snatched for £33.2m or thereabouts. Only forward flop Fernando Torres cost more at £50m to be the Blues’ all-time record signing, but Belgium’s Batshuayi has found it hard to force his way into Conte’s clicking XI ahead of Costa, with space for only one centre forward. Still, a return of five in 12 for the Blues is not bad for a 23-year-old.