While Nicolas Otamendi looked to be heading to Manchester United, their city rivals managed to lure him away to Ettihad Stadium. The addition of Ottamendi and the likely arrival of Kevin De Brunye surely puts Manchester City ahead everyone else in the Premier League title race, but are the Citizens Champions League contenders?
The signing of Otamendi is one of the best signings of the transfer window regardless of the paid price. Manuel Pellegrini got himself a solid defender proven on both European and international level. With Manchester United licking their wounds after losing out on both Pedro Rodriguez and Otamendi, the Citizens remain the undisputed heroes of their city. Other domestic rivals seemed to have a shaky start to the season too: Chelsea saw two players sent off in three matches, winning only one of them 3-2 against West Bromwich Albion and losing one 3-0 against the Citizens. Arsenal also remain with a single win after an opening day loss against West Ham and a goalless draw at the Emirates against Liverpoool. The latter have been steady but slow, besides the Arsenal game, the Reds won two games 1-0.
The Otamendi signing has indeed made City the best defensive group in the Premier League. Manuel Pellegrini now has four good options to choose from, all of whom offer him something different. Vincent Kompany, Martin Demichelis and Eliaquim Mangala are all solid options at the back. Despite a rocky preseason, they have managed to impress in three Premier League outings. The Citizens scored a total of eight goals and conceded none in three wins that put them on top of the table – two points ahead of Leicester City, Liverpool and Manchester United.
The Citizens surely know how to spend their money. They may have overspent on Raheem Sterling but they have guaranteed themselves a top quality player for many years to come. While the media spread rumors of Pep Guardiola reaching a deal with City. Their manager Pellegrini was given a major boost with a new contract assuring him of the board’s trust. Another major factor in City’s improvement is the return of captain Vincent Kompany to full fitness. His injury last season was an obstacle for him as he failed to reach top form. This time round the defender looks back to his old commanding and inspirational self. Keeping him fit is vital to the cause yet if he’s absent the club is fully covered. The three wins have arrived without Sergio Aguero reaching full form, without Raheem Sterling fully integrating himself and of course Fabian Delph is yet to feature.
It is too early to judge but they have all that it takes to win the league. However, Pellegrini needs to deliver more. If De Brunye arrives, the Citizens need to aim to reach at least the semi-finals of the Champions League if not go all the way to win it. Pellegrini is not an arrogant manager. He keeps his head down and he should take his opponents one game at a time and not underestimate any of them. The season is quite long but the Citizens are fully prepared. The Premier League title is theirs to lose.