Sunday 11 December 2016

What next for Manchester City after Champions League exit?

Published 05/05/2016 | 04:41

Manchester City face some big decisions.
Manchester City face some big decisions.

Manchester City's defeat in the Champions League semi-final by Real Madrid has left more questions about the direction of the club following the departure of manager Manuel Pellegrini at the end of the season.

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With outgoing Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola set to take charge in July, there are plenty of issues to tackle ahead of a new era at the Etihad Stadium.

Here, Press Association Sport looks at some of the next steps facing City.

SECURE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FOOTBALL

City host Arsenal on Sunday sitting in fourth place in the Barclays Premier League. Victory over an inconsistent Gunners side would put them in the driving seat to go on and claim third spot, so avoiding a potentially tricky qualifying tie for Guardiola to navigate in order to secure elite European club football again next season.

SHOULD PEP SELL BEFORE HE SPENDS BIG?

While there are plenty of players said to be on the summer shopping list of former Barcelona boss Guardiola, the Spaniard also must tackle how best to take the current squad forwards. The futures of players like Martin Demichelis, Wilfried Bony, Eliaquim Mangala, Samir Nasri and Fernandinho are all said to be up for discussion, along with the burning issue of whether Yaya Toure will be staying on.

AND SPENDS, SPENDS AND SPENDS AGAIN?

There was a time when City could simply blow their rivals out of the water with their own financial firepower, but the imminent new bumper broadcasting deal will go some way to levelling out that advantage. Nevertheless, expect plenty of cash to be paid out of the deep Etihad Stadium coffers, with reported targets to include Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba, Bayern Munich full-back David Alaba and even Lionel Messi. Well maybe...

WILL POSSESSION PROVE KEY?

Guardiola's Barcelona and Bayern sides played a possession game, which proved so effective in their own domestic leagues, and to some extent in Europe. However, the hustle and bustle of the English top flight represents a whole new ball game to any coach - just ask Jurgen Klopp. During their Champions League semi-final, Bayern struggled at times to cope with Atletico Madrid's own brand of high-tempo football. So it remains to be seen just how Guardiola will aim to take on the likes of Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal and indeed newly-crown champions Leicester, as well as a cold, wet February trip to Burnley or Stoke.

Press Association

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