Manchester City enter the 2015/16 season attempting to reclaim their Premier League title - after losing out to Jose Mourinho's Chelsea and having to settle for second place in last season's standings.
Last season's Champions spent big again in last summer transfer window to add even more strength to a squad, so that it was bursting with world class talent. Manuel Pellegrini acquired Bacary Sagna on a free transfer from Arsenal, paid £12m for Porto’s Fernando to strengthen central midfield and brought in Willy Caballero from Málaga for £6m to offer serious competition for Joe Hart. Add that to the £31m spent on Frenchman Eliaquim Mangala and the £25m January acquisition of striker Wilfried Bony and City fans would have thought they'd have a squad capable of challenging on all fronts.
However, with the squad falling short of pre-season expectations last term, more money was splashed this summer to bring in Liverpool's Raheem Sterling for a fee of £44m plus add ons, along with Valencia's Nicolás Otamendi for £28m and Wolfsburg's Kevin De Bruyne for a whopping £54.5m.
This is something reflected in the thoughts of the bookmakers, who have installed Manchester City alongside Chelsea as the clear favourites for all domestic titles. However, the odds on them winning the Champions League suggest that 2015/16 won’t be the year that City crack Europe. They are way behind the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich as potential European Champions but, with the talent City have at their disposal, it would take a brave man to bet against them.
Manchester City Summer Transfers
Players In (Signed from): Raheem Sterling (Liverpool) Fabian Delph (Aston Villa) Patrick Roberts (Fulham) Nicolás Otamendi (Valencia) Kevin De Bruyne (Wolfsburg)
Players Out (Left for): Dedryck Boyata (Celtic) Matija Nastasić (Schalke 04) Micah Richards (Aston Villa) Scott Sinclair (Aston Villa) Frank Lampard (NY City) James Milner (Liverpool) Álvaro Negredo (Valencia) John Guidetti (Celta Vigo) Karim Rekik (Olympique Marseille) Marcos Lopes (AS Monaco)
Manchester City’s inexperience in Europe has hindered them in recent years, with many pundits claiming the club have a ‘mental block’ when it comes to progressing in the Champions League. Whether they can overcome that this season remains to be seen, but the players they have brought in are tipped to be future stars and it would be no surprise to see City reaching the latter stages in years to come.
Man City should have no such problems negotiating their way around domestic competitions having tasted success in every domestic competitions recently, with their 2013/14 League and Cup double following an F.A Cup win in 2011 and another Premier League title in 2012. Bookies are firmly expecting more trophies to be added to that tally this season, with Man City among the favourites to win all of the domestic cup competitions.
It is easy to see why. Their squad has quality and quantity, something only perhaps Chelsea can also claim. If they wanted to rest Aguero or Silva for a midweek League Cup match, they can call upon the likes Bony and Nasri to replace them without making the team weaker.
This strength in depth is the main reason the bookies are backing them across the board but it is their first XI that will decide their fate in the Premier League.
A lot will depend on striker Sergio Aguero if City are to reclaim their Premier League crown, with the scoring burden primarily resting on his shoulders. The Argentinian scored 26 Premier League goals last season Aguero’s goals came in just 33 games, which makes the total all the more impressive.
Bony has gone from strength to strength since arriving in the Premier League with Swansea in 2013 and if he can continue to improve - and add to the 11 goals he scored in the division last season - both him and Aguero should have no problem firing City to even more success this season.
They will also have great support from Yaya Toure and David Silva - who both hit 12 goals in all competitions last season, not to mention new additions Sterling and De Bruyne.
Manchester City Top Scorers 2014/15 (All Comps) Sergio Aguero - 32 David Silva - 12 Yaya Toure - 12 James Milner - 8 Frank Lampard - 8 Edin Dzeko - 6 Stevan Jovetic - 5
Manchester City’s recent success in League and Cup competitions has at last added some silverware to the club's trophy room, which was beginning to look too bare for a club of City’s size.
Two League wins in the last three seasons has took their overall total to four, while they also have a total of five FA Cups and three League Cups, a record that stands up against most clubs in the country.
With City again looking to fire on all fronts this season, the odds are in their favour of adding yet another piece of silverware to their ever-growing collection in 2015/16.