Why Alexis Sanchez And Leonardo Bonucci Will Make Manchester City Favorites To Win The Champions League Title
Manchester City, under Pep Guardiola, have been ruthless this season across all competitions and are relentlessly pursuing title glory that the ex-Barcelona and Bayern Munich gaffer missed out last term in what was his maiden campaign in English football.
City, however, are more polished with proper reinforcements and already 13 points clear of second-placed city rivals Manchester United following 17 consecutive victories in the league. They have also progressed through to the knockouts of UEFA Champions League competition where they have been drawn against Swiss outfit FC Basel – a team that are tipped to be well-beaten by the Cityzens when the competition resumes in the month of February.
City’s metamorphosis since the MiddleEast takeover has been quite a significant event and despite winning the Premier League title and other domestic silverware, their failure in the prestigious European competition forced the owners to recruit Guardiola following his glittering managerial realm with his previous employers. The Spaniard trimmed his side, reinforced his backline, strengthened other slots and still seems undone in the transfer market, as he views to bringing in the £58.5m rated Alexis Sanchez and the £36m rated Leonardo Bonucci when the window reopens next month.
The Sanchez saga, meanwhile, hasn’t changed a bit as the Chilean is still refusing to extend his stay beyond next summer. City are keen to acquire him in January after failing to seal the deal on summer transfer deadline day. Although Arsene Wenger is determined to keep hold of him until next summer, the veteran Gunners boss might be forced to let Alexis join the Premier League counterparts reluctantly rather than allowing a Bosman transfer.
Guardiola has managed the attacker during his stint at Barcelona and City too will be plotting a winter move in a cut-price deal. Sanchez will add much-needed experience in wide areas that are currently being occupied by Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling – two of world’s finest young talents, along with Bernardo Silva, the young Portuguese sensation who is yet to settle in since completing a summer move from Ligue 1 champions AS Monaco. The current Gunners star holds vast experience of Champions League football and his style of play perfectly suits Guardiola’s system.
Bonucci, on the other hand, is more of a necessity due to evergrowing injury concerns of skipper Vincent Kompany that is now causing enough frustration for the Spanish gaffer. John Stones has improved this season but is out injured, whereas Eliaquim Mangala is only good enough as a backup central defensive option. Argentine Nicolas Otamendi is the only in-form centre-back for the Cityzens and the presence of the Italian international will solve their defensive worry.
Bonucci only moved to AC Milan this summer following a rift with the Old Lady gaffer Massimiliano Allegri and might be transferred out once again amidst interests from Premier League heavyweights. Chelsea are also in contention to acquire the Italian due to his cordial relationship with former Juventus and Azzurri boss Antonio Conte, who helped Bonucci to prosper as one of the world’s best centre-backs of the current era.
Although both Sanchez and Bonucci have appeared in this season’s Europa League competition for their respective outfits, they won’t be cup-tied for Champions League (as explained on official UEFA website h/t The Mirror).
Winter is not the ideal time for striking such major deals, but with City’s power and progress, they can lure anyone whenever they wish to and the addition of these two stars will make them a formidable, unbeatable and title-winning force in this distinguished European event.
Here is how they might lineup for UEFA Champions League knockout rounds if they successfully strike these two deals in the January transfer window.