The looming 2020/21 Season represents colossal change for Manchester City, both on and off the pitch.
When Sheikh Mansour purchased Manchester City over a decade ago it took a little over a year to define a coherent business strategy. Winning and competing at the top level was the initial target whilst also establishing an underpinning system of attractive attacking football.
In order to achieve that first goal – of winning and competing at the highest level – City had to create a winning team and Mansour went about this task with bombastic precision.
After 12 months of uplifting performance and improving the club profile through the scatter gun signings of random expensive players, City began to assemble a squad of talent, capable of challenging the status quo. In came Sergio Aguero, David Silva, Yaya Toure, Edin Dzeko, Joleon Lescott and others to add to existing players such as Vincent Kompany and Pablo Zabaletta.
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However, 2020/21 season marks a real rite de passage of this first truly great phase of City under Mansour – this is the last season of those core players as Sergio Aguero’s contract is due to expire on 30 June 2021.
Sergio is the last surviving City player in the current squad from the side which won the 2011/12 Premier League title. In many ways the nature of that victory- in the 94th minute of the last game of the season – has come to define the first phase of this Manchester City project.
Since then other star players have joined and City sit at the cusp of the new season, on the verge of their second phase of domination.
The City project under the management of ex Barcelona Chief Executives was in many ways crafted for Pep Guardiola to elevate the status of the club. He was the single most accomplished coach in World football, famous for the attacking football blueprint which City craved.
The clamour which surrounded his appointment in July 2016 has since been rewarded with a further 2 League titles and 4 domestic cups.
But if the first stage of the City project was crafted for Guardiola, his 5 years at the Club ends in July 2021, and so 2020/21 marks his departure too.
2020/21 marks a transition for Manchester City into Phase 2. This requires the acquisition of young players to deliver the future footballing brand, whether this involves a continuation of Guardiola style or some subtle alterations is not yet clear.
So, this new season marks a transition. Whether both Aguero and Guardiola extend their existing deals to lengthen the transition into Phase 2 remains to be seen.
The ideal solution of course for City would be for Guardiola to extend his deal and continue, overseeing the transition into Phase 2, but either way this new season represents colossal change.