Ilkay Gundogan and Riyad Mahrez both opted to leave for new challenges when they could have stayed, prompting the Blues to go into the market to replace them. Matheus Nunes, Mateo Kovacic and Jeremy Doku subsequently walked through the door, while centre-back Josko Gvardiol was signed before Aymeric Laporte left.
While it is too early to say whether the new signings can succeed, they have already contributed to a significant change in Pep Guardiola&aposs first-team squad that has seen the average age of the starting XI fall. As well as dropping in real terms, City have gone from having the sixth-oldest side in the division to the twelfth-oldest.
That isn&apost to say that the younger the better: of the four youngest sides in the Premier League last season, one was Arsenal but the other three were relegated and Burnley are easily the youngest so far in this campaign. Nevertheless, a club always needs to be looking to inject youth into the XI and the fact that City have achieved a similar drop this year to Arsenal, Chelsea and United reduces the risk of the Treble winners being caught out.
City&aposs average last season in the Premier League was 27.7 (or 27 years and 256 days, if you prefer) and in four games that sealed the Treble – Arsenal at home in April, Real Madrid at home, United in the FA Cup final and Inter in the Champions League final – it was even older at 28. With eight first-team players enjoying birthdays over the summer, there was potential for that to creep up further.
However, the summer signings plus an injury to Kevin De Bruyne has helped to bring the age down. From the first four league games, City&aposs average is below 27 to 26.9 and there is also the potential for it to fall again.
Jeremy Doku (21) has only started one of four league games after arriving late in the window while Josko Gvardiol (also 21) will also add a lot more to his two starts and Matheus Nunes (25) can expect some as well. Phil Foden and Julian Alvarez (both 23) can expect to be the main beneficiaries of Mahrez leaving and De Bruyne being sidelined, Kovacic is three years younger than Gundogan was while 18-year-old Rico Lewis also looks set for plenty of minutes.