With their dethroning as Premier League champions all but complete, Manchester City are widely expected to conduct a radical overhaul of their squad this summer.
Several quarters have pointed to the ageing nature of the Citizens’ roster as the cause behind the humdrum campaign they’ve endured so far, one that’s almost certainly going to end without silverware.
Others point to the fact that their substandard recruitment in recent seasons is to blame for their failure to evolve into domestic dominators, with the core of the side almost identical to the one that first won the title in 2011/12.
Drastically out of form, City make the short trip to Old Trafford this weekend to face a Manchester United side whose fine fettle renders them an excellent price to prevail at 6/4.
A Reds victory will wedge a four-point gap between the two parties, leaving Manuel Pellegrini’s men perilously perched on the fringe of the Champions League qualification places.
Even if the Chilean’s troops are beaten, however, they needn’t panic too much in the summer as wholesale changes aren’t required.
Neighbours Man Utd will testify to this being the case and City must follow their blueprint established by Sir Alex Ferguson in 2006.
Prior to the start of that season, United hadn’t won the title in three years, seeing Arsenal and Chelsea (twice) claim the laurels.
Despite this, the club resisted the temptation to go on a shopping spree, favouring instead to make a few small changes to their squad.
The only permanent acquisition made was that of dependable midfielder Michael Carrick, who arrived for a relative bargain of £18.6m.
Just one major outgoing was sanctioned too, with Dutch predator Ruud van Nistelrooy shipped out to Real Madrid for just shy of £11m, with Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo deemed ready to do the bulk of the goal-getting.
Refusing to overact and acknowledging the great quality that existed in the squad proved a winning formula; United won the title in 2006/07 and repeated the trick in the two terms that followed.
City have similar levels of talent in their ranks; few strikers in the world are as good as Sergio Aguero, David Silva remains an elite conjurer and Vincent Kompany is still a formidable force at centre-half.
All three of these core players remain under 30 and have several years of high-class performances in them.
Like United nine years ago, City’s problem area is central-midfield and signing a reliable holding player like Carrick should be a priority.
Similarly, axing a former talisman whose advancing years and overblown ego are proving problematic is of equal importance, which is why Yaya Toure should be the only high-profile casualty of their summer shake up.