Considering the swathes of cash Manchester City have lavished on new recruits over the past few years, Manuel Pellegrini’s recent comments about the need for star signings might ring a little hollow to some.
However, last summer City were undoubtedly left behind their Premier League rivals in the transfer market.
Eliaquim Mangala was the Sky Blues’ headline acquisition in a window when Angel Di Maria, Cesc Fabregas and Alexis Sanchez also arrived in England.
As a result, the Citizens have taken a step back on all fronts this term, and it’s not surprising Pellegrini wants to address that this summer.
The Sky Blues are 67/100 to beat Crystal Palace in their next match and return to second place in the Premier League.
Pellegrini has also implied that City’s funds will be directed towards bringing in an English player, and Raheem Sterling is the man likeliest to be on his radar.
The Liverpool youngster’s hefty contract demands continue to threaten his future at Anfield, and City have been repeatedly linked with Sterling in recent months.
As well as being one of the most exciting young players in the world, the 20-year-old would provide a much-needed boost to City’s homegrown quota, and his signing would also be a blow to a Premier League rival.
However, the rumoured fee of around £50m would represent a huge risk for City, especially when you consider what they could get for that kind of money on the continent.
Last summer Sanchez, Diego Costa and Fabregas all arrived for sums substantially lower than that which Liverpool will reportedly demand for Sterling, and this time around there will be likely similar quality available on the European market.
Marco Reus has long been linked with a move to the Premier League, and with Borussia Dortmund struggling in 10th place in the Bundesliga and very unlikely to grab a Champions League spot, the Germany international might well consider a move.
The 25-year-old has notched seven goals and five assists in his 17 league outings, and is averaging 2.7 key passes per game, the second-best tally in the Bundesliga.
Last season, when injury free, Reus scored 16 times and contributed 13 assists in 30 appearances. He is a proven star, and yet would likely cost about the same or even less than Sterling.
Elsewhere in the Bundesliga Man City could look at Kevin De Bruyne, who has been linked with a £30m move back to the Premier League.
The former Chelsea midfielder might not have the name recognition of Reus yet, but make no mistake, any club who could prise him away from Wolfsburg would be getting one of the best around.
As well as scoring nine goals, De Bruyne has racked up a ridiculous 17 assists in 27 league games this term, the most by any player in Europe’s five major leagues.
City could also consider following in Chelsea’s footsteps and raiding Atletico Madrid for Koke, who reportedly could move this summer for as little as £22m.
Last season the 23-year-old was key to Atletico’s La Liga title win, contributing six goals and 13 assists in 36 games, and he has already set up nine strikes this term.