Finding Manchester City’s next superstar
Ever since Sheik Mansour’s takeover of Manchester City, the blue half of Manchester has been able to flourish under his seemingly endless capital. The Citizens have been able to compete with the top clubs in England, winning two Premier League titles in this decade and becoming a thorn in the side of other English powers. The team even managed a Champions League Semi-Final last year, and although newcomer Pep Guardiola has struggled in his first year as City coach, greener pasture surely lie ahead for a team that must be competing for the Premier League and the Champions League on a consistent basis. Along with titles, the money of the City Football Group has enabled the once hidden in the shadows Mancunian side to buy a plethora of world-class talent. Sergio Agüero, Yaya Toure, David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne are just a few of the class players that City have been able to purchase as their search for titles continues. Many people, myself included, would say that Agüero is the star of the team. He is the team’s highest scoring Premier League player with an outstanding 120 goals in 178 appearances. He has not only become a hero but a legend after securing the club’s first ever Premier League title by scoring his now famous goal against QPR to beat rivals Manchester United to the title. Although the Argentinean is not old, 28, his strong desire to go back home to Argentina has been expressed so City have to make sure they find their next superstar before the current one leaves. I have 3 candidates that can definitely light up the Etihad Stadium, not only in terms of statistics, but commercially, as they grow under Guardiola.
Kevin De Bruyne
Although already mentioned on this list as a world-class player, there is no denying that the Belgian has the potential to become an even better player. He was mostly played out wide for Pellegrini and the trend continues this season, as De Bruyne has been sometimes played as a deep-lying playmaker instead of his natural number 10 role, currently occupied by David Silva. De Bruyne does have a hefty price on him, costing the club 78 million Euros, but his sheer quality is always a joy to see. He does hit the post and the crossbar an awful lot, but his 15 Premier League assists ranks him first in the league as he masterfully translates the ball up the field. He has all the qualities to not only be a superstar in the club, but a Balon D’Or contender due to his influence and natural ability in the side. His brilliant performance against United at Old Trafford immediately spring to mind , a game that City won 2–1, in which the tricky Belgian scored and put Daley Blind in his pocket. At 25 years old, De Bruyne still has some growing to do, but the man is already good enough to fit into any Premier League side, maybe even some of the world’s biggest teams. It can only get better.
A new player brought in by Guardiola during the summer, the former Schalke player has struggled with consistency this term but that is expected for a winger transitioning into a new league. He has scored some important goals, netting the equaliser in the 2–1 win over Arsenal during the first meeting between the clubs this season. He is fast, clinical and tall enough to be a threat in the box but what is most mesmerising about the Essen-born player is his dribbling. Multiple times he has been able to outsmart and confuse his opponents with his quick feet. He has been involved in 14 goals this season and has become a regular for Guardiola on the left side, adding necessary pace to a team that prefers playing midfielders on the wings and sometimes lacking that killer edge. He has been a revelation and although he has a big price-tag on his shoulders of 50 million Euros, I believe that he will prove his worth and possibly become the face of the club in the next couple of years. Did I forget to mention Leroy is 21?
Last but of course, not least, it had to be the most hyped up teenager in a while. I was extremely excited when Gabriel Jesus signed for City. Being Argentinean, I tend to check on South American football and I knew of the deadly potential of the Palmeiras striker although not to this extent. Everything he touches turns to goal. He has a never die attitude and the biggest thirst for goal I have seen on a youngster. Turning up for Manchester City against the biggest clubs in Europe does not even seem to cross his mind. He almost seems like he is playing with his friends and there is a Brazilian flair to his style of play that entices every City fan. He suffered a horrific injury yet came back like he hadn’t skipped a day of training, scoring against United, albeit an offside goal, and then scoring a crucial goal to secure a point versus Middlesbrough in the 85th minute. He is only 20 years old and has been involved in 5 goals in a mere 6 games, including a brace against Swansea City that secured 3 points. Unlike De Bruyne and Sane, his transfer fee is of 32 million Euros, a bargain considering Jordan Ibe cost Bournemouth 18 million Euros but he has failed to register a goal or an assist. As Kelechi Iheanacho’s hype has died down, Gabriel Jesus has already been living to it and I cannot wait to see what will become of his career. Surely someone who can place Sergio Agüero on the bench is something more than special.