It was a slower than usual transfer window for Manchester City as last season’s Premier League champions look to tighten their grip on English football and move towards a period of dominance. Man City manager Pep Guardiola has recruited three new faces with an emphasis placed on youth.
The Cityzens were delighted to bolster their pool with the arrival of Dutch under-20 starlet Philippe Sandler in July. The 21-year-old signed from Dutch Eredivisie side PEC Zwolle on a four-year contract for around 3m euros. The defender – a product of the famed Ajax youth academy – may be viewed as one for the future at the Etihad, but he’ll arrive in England desperate to make an impression and force his way into the first team squad.
A decent price to pay for a squad player but it’s a drop in the ocean when compared with City’s other summer signing. Top of the bill was the capture of Riyad Mahrez from 2016 Premier League champions Leicester City. Following an extended period of negotiations, with the Algerian playmaker making it clear he was all for a move to the light blues, both clubs finally agreed on a whopping £60m fee.
The third name on the shopping list was another wonderkid in 18-year-old Claudio Gomes from French giants PSG. The tough-tackling defensive midfielder enjoyed a number of appearances for the Parisians’ youth side but found his access to the full-squad blocked by a number of big-name arrivals. Will he have more success in Manchester?
That remains to be seen but there’s certainly no doubting the talents of Gomes, another who arrives in England with a point to prove and a big future ahead of him having captained France’s under-18s. Reports in the media quoted Guardiola as saying Gomes is very, very good but he believes game time is crucial for teenage players and that suggests the new recruit won’t be around for long before being sent out on loan.
So, two young players who are unlikely to feature this season and a big-money signing from Leicester City? It may not be the type of business City fans have come to expect in summer, but bookmakers believe the champions are a stronger outfit this season than the one that ended as runaway champions last time. 100 points – 19 more than runners-up Man Utd – 106 goals scored and only 27 conceded, it’s no surprise to see traders scramble to keep two in-a-row close.
The latest Premier League betting heading into week one of the new season has Man City as odds-on favourites with all major firms, bet365’s 4/6 the norm. There’s no doubt Pep’s boys deserve to be at the head of the market but a bet on such a tight price over the course of a season won’t interest many average football punters, so where’s the value?
Those looking to take City on will find Liverpool as their main rivals in the betting with The Reds chalked up at 4/1, Man Utd third in line, 7/1 on the table. Improvement is expected from Everton but oddsmakers don’t rate their chances; confident enough to slap on a 250/1 price tag.