What Manchester City’s starting XI could look like in 2015/16
Manchester City may be back in the Premier League title race (10/3 chances), but Europe’s elite club competition, the Champions League, is something they are still struggling with.
Hence being drawn again with Barcelona after scrapping to reach the last 16. Coral make City 12/5 to qualify from this two-legged tie, and 20/1 chances to lift the European Cup.
A major shake-up could occur this summer, should the Etihad outfit once again fail to reach the business end of the Champions League. Tabloid rumours are rife about players going in and those being shipped out or leaving.
This got our football experts thinking about what City’s starting XI might look like on the opening day of next season? Do you agree with our XI?
Goalkeeper: Joe Hart
Immovable from between the posts is England and Etihad number one Hart. Argentine stopper Willy Caballero should continue as backup.
Right back: Pablo Zabaleta
This steady performer has nothing to fear in regards to a regular place. Bacary Sagna should still come in when City want to rest Zabaleta. Micah Richards, meanwhile, is out of contract this summer, so his future up is in the air once a season-long switch to Fiorentina ends.
Centre back: Toby Alderweireld
Currently on loan at Southampton, reports suggest City could scupper Ronald Koeman’s attempt to sign Belgium defender Alderweireld permanently by outbidding for him to parent club Atletico Madrid. Martin Demichelis could also extend his stay despite being in his mid-30s. Karim Rekik could well join PSV Eindhoven permanently, and there looks to be no future for Dedryck Boyata.
Centre back: Vincent Kompany
City captain Kompany, like Hart, is the bedrock foundation of their successful spine. We can expect to see Eliaquim Mangala stay and fight for his place, but Matija Nastasic being shipped out to Schalke on loan is a bad sign for his prospects.
Left back: Aaron Cresswell
Scouts sent out from the Etihad have reportedly been impressed with West Ham United left back Cresswell, so he could help City fill their homegrown quota, especially with other English players looking likely to leave. Any move for him would suggest either Gael Clichy or Aleksandar Kolarov will make way.
Defensive midfield: Fernandinho
Anchoring things should be Fernandinho, who is a steady player and being unspectacular is usually a positive sign in the engine room. Fellow Brazilian Fernando Reges would need to improve as an understudy.
Right wing: David Silva
An essential part of City’s success is superb Spain star Silva. Compatriot Jesus Navas may be offloaded with the out of contract James Milner being touted to join another top Premier League club.
Attacking midfield: Kevin De Bruyne
Now at Wolfsburg, ex-Chelsea man De Bruyne is being lined up to replace Yaya Toure, who has not had the same impact as last term, according to the tabloids. His Bundesliga form has been hugely encouraging, and that would need to translate over to the Etihad, as Frank Lampard is leaving for sister club New York City.
Left wing: Memphis Depay
What could be sweeter than snatching rumoured Manchester United target and Eredivisie leading marksman Depay from under their neighbours’ noses? Depay has been deadly at PSV this term, and City could use Rekik in a player-plus-cash deal to get the Dutch winger. Samir Nasri could see his first-team involvement suffer, though, while Scott Sinclair, on loan at Aston Villa, is almost certain to leave.
Striker: Wilfried Bony
Having recently made his Etihad debut, Ivory Coast frontman Bony should be leading the attack at the expense of Edin Dzeko, who could return to Wolfsburg and be used in a potential swap deal for De Bruyne, next term. John Guidetti, meanwhile, should make his switch to Celtic permanently.
Striker: Sergio Aguero
When Argentina attacker Aguero is fit he starts and scores with alarming regularity. That trend should continue, with Stevan Jovetic left out of the Champions League squad, so the writing is on the wall for him.