Having seriously stalled the careers of English quartet Micah Richards, Jack Rodwell, Scott Sinclair and Adam Johnson over the last four years, Premier League champions Manchester City are on their way back to the domestic well in order to avoid sanctions for housing too many foreign footballers.
You can get 3/1 with bwin.com on Everton’s Ross Barkley becoming a Man City player by September 2nd 2015, after media reports that the 2013/14 title winners worked hard in attempting to put together a deal for the nine-cap England man during the recent transfer window.
According to the Guardian, the attacking-midfielder will be the Citizens’ primary target next summer, when they expect the Toffees to let their prize asset to leave for much less than chairman Bill Kenwright’s current reported asking price of £50m.
However, there’s no immediate lack of guile, pace and precision at the Etihad in the number ten/wide-forward areas where Barkley operates, with David Silva, Samir Nasri, Jesus Navas, Stevan Jovetic and James Milner all under 30 and able to take up said positions.
Barkley is clearly a talent and few who have seen him play would argue otherwise, but the Wavertree native has only started 29 Premier League games in his career thus far and is currently enduring a second stretch on the sidelines since breaking into Everton’s first team just over 12 months ago.
Furthermore, the 20-year-old’s attacking numbers are not special, with just six goals struck for the Toffees last term and no assists in 34 Premier League appearances, 25 of which he was on from the off in.
If City’s owners are serious about throwing money in Merseyside’s direction for an England international, they’d be better off targeting Liverpool’s Jordan Henderson.
The former Sunderland man proved a crucial cog in the Reds machine last term, when Liverpool’s Premier League title challenge hit the skids only after Henderson’s enforced end-of-season absence.
Brendan Rodgers’ side won 16 and drew two of 18 all-competition matches between the start of 2014 and the end of the 2013/14 campaign with the perpetual-motion midfielder in from the off, but their quest for a first top-tier title since 1990 floundered on the rocks in the three games he was suspended for in May.
With Fernandinho looking less sure of himself than ever after being as culpable as any Brazil player in the Selecao’s 7-1 semi-final loss to Germany at the World Cup, and his sound-a-like compatriot Fernando hard to measure having come from Porto for a knockdown £12m during the summer, City’s midfield does not look world class.
As the Guardian states, Yaya Toure is 31-years-old and possibly waning in influence, with no goals so far in 2014/15, compared to three at this stage of last term, but strike threats abound within the City ranks, so Manuel Pellegrini should be more focused on replacing the Ivorian’s energy than his shooting ability.
Under such circumstances, Liverpool’s Henderson currently looks a better City fit than Everton’s Barkley.