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Sep 3, 2014

How did Man City do in the window?

ESPN FC's Paul Mariner and Craig Burley discuss Manchester City's transfers despite their FFP limitations.

Ins and Outs

Players in: Fernando (Porto, £12m), Bacary Sagna (Arsenal, free), Willy Caballero (Malaga, undisclosed), Eliaquim Mangala (Porto, undisclosed), Frank Lampard (New York City, loan), Bruno Zuculini (Racing Club, undisclosed)

Players out: Joleon Lescott (West Brom, free); Costel Pantilimon (Sunderland, free), Gareth Barry (Everton, £1m), Bruno Zuculini (Valencia, loan), Javi Garcia (Zenit St Petersburg, £13m), Marcos Lopes (Lille, loan), Jack Rodwell (Sunderland, undisclosed), Micah Richards (Fiorentina, loan), Emyr Huws (Wigan, undisclosed), Alvaro Negredo (Valencia, loan)

Summing up the window

It's been a fantastic window. Frankly, I don't think director of football Txiki Begiristain has been given the credit he deserves for the business he's done this summer. Despite the spending restrictions, he identified the targets the club needed and got them in fairly early. There was only the arrival of Mangala that dragged on, but that was down to the issue of third-part ownership.

Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini has had a second straight successful summer transfer window.
Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini has had a second straight successful summer transfer window.

On top of the arrivals, he's managed to get very respectable fees for Rodwell and Garcia -- AND he's re-signed all of the players vital to last season's Premier League title on long term deals.

The summer probably couldn't have gone much better, to be honest - 10/10.

Best piece of business?

We may only be briefly into the new season, but Fernando is looking like a terrific signing. He's offering defensive cover, but is much more mobile and forward-thinking than the casual observer may see. He's quick and gets back into position quickly, then kicks the team forward when he wins possession back.

Just three matches into the Premier League season, Fernando has already proven to be a wise buy.
Just three matches into the Premier League season, Fernando has already proven to be a wise buy.

Worst piece of business?

I was a fan of Javi Garcia and was pretty sad to see him go. He'd started very badly, but had proved himself to be very valuable toward the end of last season. I suspect the decision to see off the Spanish midfielder was more to do with meeting the required homegrown and foreigner ratio for both the Premier League and the Champions League. He was always guaranteed less playing time, so it's probably the most logical move.

I'm also a little concerned the Blues could be a little light up front with the departure of Alvaro Negredo. The Spaniard wasn't happy in Manchester and it's never good to have an unhappy player on the books, but with the injury-prone nature of Sergio Aguero and Stevan Jovetic, it presents a risk for Manuel Pellegrini to go into this half of the season with three strikers.

What remaining issues are there?

At the moment, Micah Richards is in a big catch-22. He needs game time if he's ever going to recapture his form from 2011-12, but he's so far down the pecking order that he's not going to get it at City. Yet he's a fan favourite and is a character who's been around longer than any other -- so there's no desire to see him leave. His move to Fiorentina should give him the chance to impress, and that could be key as to whether he stays or goes next summer. The loan, however, does look like it could become permanent in the future.

With the window closing and Scott Sinclair remaining on the books and unlikely to feature, he should be one of the main movers come January.

Who can help in January?

Frankly, I think City's team is in the best shape it's been in for generations -- possibly ever (though you'll have to ask someone who saw Colin Bell, Mike Summerbee, Francis Lee, et al to be totally sure). There are few names that are both realistic targets for the Blues and who would add strength to weak areas, largely because there are few weak areas this campaign.

If pushed for a name, however, I would go all out for Ross Barkley -- while he's currently injured, he's clearly a huge talent and he's English, which will make him a very valuable asset should City be able to tempt him away from the Toffees.

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