A thrilling climax to the 2021-22 league campaign saw Manchester City edge out Liverpool for the title, but it won’t be long before the team, and their fans, look ahead to the upcoming season. The competition at the top of football is as fierce as it’s ever been, and teams that stand still will be punished.
Man City know this, which is why they won’t be resting on their laurels. The Sky Blues will be looking to improve their chances of success going into next season, and Pep Guardiola’s side are likely to be a favourite for anyone searching for football betting odds, for the reasons outlined below.
Guardiola’s side have wrapped up what may well be the biggest signing of the summer before the transfer window has even opened. Few player moves are likely to generate more discussion than Erling Haaland’s switch from Borussia Dortmund to Man City. The Norwegian has scored 86 goals in his 89 games for the Bundesliga club, with 62 goals in 67 league games during that spell, following on from a similarly impressive record during his time at RB Salzburg. He also has 15 goals in 17 for his country but, beyond just his goalscoring figures, Haaland provides something that Guardiola’s side currently lack.
Since the departure of Sergio Agüero, City haven’t had a genuine centre forward, with players such as Phil Foden playing up front. While the team have managed to find success despite the circumstances, Haaland adds another weapon to Guardiola’s arsenal. The Norwegian brings the nose for goal that only a genuine striker offers, and his physical profile will allow him to act as a focal point for a team otherwise lacking in that area, opening up another dimension to Man City’s play.
Guardiola’s squad features a number of players who are likely to depart the club. Fernandinho is on the way out, having already been phased out of the team in favour of Rodri, while Ilkay Gündogan, Raheem Sterling, Riyad Mahrez and Gabriel Jesus all have a year left on their contracts.
Sterling has been something of a peripheral figure compared to previous seasons, while Gabriel Jesus has been linked with multiple moves away from the club. The integration of Foden into the side has been refreshing, and City may well look for more of that effect.
Aside from Haaland, the club have also signed Julián Álvarez from River Plate. The Argentine isn’t as far along in his development as Haaland, but his work rate and versatility of roles means he’s guaranteed to be a favourite of Guardiola. City are likely to target more of these signings going forward.
Guardiola’s contract situation has been the topic of speculation for months, with the decorated manager’s contract up at the end of next season. It’s hard to judge what effect, if any, speculation has on the locker room, but the club will likely benefit from clarity on what the future holds for the man in the dugout.
If Guardiola decides that he has several more seasons in him, then it’s certain to be a boost for the club, who can continue to build the team around the identity that his style of play provides. On the other hand, if the Catalan coach needs a break, then what better way to go out than with one last hurrah, targeting glory in all competitions in his final year at the club.