Man City must learn from transfer market weakness they showed this summer – Joshua Smith

Trailing 2-0 with just 14 minutes remaining of the 2021/22 Premier League season, it was Ilkay Gundogan who kickstarted the six minutes of madness against Aston Villa that landed the title. With City level with rivals Manchester United in last season&aposs FA Cup final, it was that man Gundogan again who stepped up to win things. Time and time again, Gundo came up with the goods.

City&aposs most clutch player was voted into the role of club captain following Fernandinho&aposs departure last year and it was always easy to see why. But, while Gundogan&aposs time wearing the armband was peppered with trophy lifts, it was ultimately short-lived.

The former Borussia Dortmund midfielder completed his move to LaLiga giants Barcelona this summer following the expiration of his contract at the Etihad. Speaking this week about his move, Gundogan admitted he might still be a City player had they been quicker in putting a strong offer on the table.

“I don&apost want to go into the minute details, but it was quite late in the season,” he told BILD of City&aposs offer. “And when it comes to a Champions League quarter-final or semi-final, players want to concentrate purely on sport.

“I didn&apost know what would happen next. I couldn&apost plan anything. Pep&aposs appreciation was always there, but officially there was no movement from the club for a long time.

“Until May, there was little reason for me to want to change. The Treble was of course a crowning achievement. But that couldn&apost have been planned.

“In the end, it wasn&apost about a year or two. There was no problem with the running time.

“City waited a relatively long time until the talks really intensified. If this had happened a little earlier, the situation would have been different.”

That is a painful lesson for City, but one they simply have to learn from. While on the one hand, City will not be the last side to adopt a policy of offering the more senior members of their squad shorter contracts so as to ensure they are still meeting the high standards expected of them, it was clear all season that Gundogan still has plenty left in the tank.

The German is a game-changer, only now he will be changing games for Barcelona. City have had to dig deep in order to replace Gundogan, bringing in Mateo Kovacic from Chelsea for 25million and Matheus Nunes from Wolves for 53million even though neither can add everything their predecessor did to the team.

What&aposs more, City could be headed for a similar situation with Kevin De Bruyne. The Belgian&aposs contract is set to expire at the end of next season and despite now being 32 years old, on his day he is still the best midfielder in the Premier League, still the player City can look to when they are in need of inspiration.

Like Gundogan, there are sure to be plenty of clubs hoping to sneak in and steal De Bruyne away should his contract situation get anything close to what was allowed with City&aposs former captain.

City cannot afford to dither again.

The transfer window has been a hectic one and City have been busy, with high-profile signings and sales aplenty.

City snapped up Croatian pair Mateo Kovacic and Josko Gvardiol from Chelsea and RB Leipzig respectively with the latest addition being Jeremy Doku. Wolves&apos Matheus Nunes then joined the Blues on deadline day. In terms of outgoings, Treble winner Ilkay Gundogan departed for Barcelona, Aymeric Laporte and Riyad Mahrez moved to Saudi Arabia, and Cole Palmer completed a shock move to Chelsea.

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