Stones, Dias, Laporte, Cancelo, De Bruyne, Bernardo, Palmer, Kayky, Grealish and Ederson. Those 10 names might make up the core of Manchester City's squad in three years, when the majority of them will be at their best. That's a worrying notion for the rest of the Premier League, particularly Liverpool's opponents, who look to be facing down a triple-barrelled shotgun as star forward trio Sadio Mane, Mo Salah, and Roberto Firmino reach the end of their current contracts.
Toni Rudiger, N'Golo Kante, Jorginho, Mason Mount, Christian Pulisic, and Callum Hudson-Odoi are all reaching the end of their contracts, so Chelsea has a lot of work to do. People make a lot of noise about City's transfer market expenditure, much of it foolishness that ignores the fact that their investments in quality players pay off in terms of increasing the worth of those human assets as well as winning championships. The way City has maintained those players by building a family culture around the playing team, a link that takes them through difficult moments in matches and challenging times in seasons, is a less well-known issue.
Despite their success, City's team appears restless and dissatisfied, according to one recent complaint - the opinion of someone who hasn't seen the players up close. Players who aren't playing grow cantankerous, as Raheem Sterling and Aymeric Laporte did last season, and players who aren't playing feel homesick for personal, non-football reasons, as Bernardo Silva has done the previous two summers. But the fact that all three of those guys have stayed and prospered this season tells volumes about the true spirit and unity that exists among this outstanding group of players.
Few teams can boast the duration of service of big talents such as Sergio Aguero, David Silva, Vincent Kompany, Pablo Zabaleta, and now Fernandinho and Kevin De Bruyne, to name a few. That does not smack like a club where the stars are unhappy and looking about enviously. Joao Cancelo has joined Ruben Dias and Jack Grealish as the latest City player to commit to the club for the long haul, signing a contract extension until 2027. Ederson, John Stones, Cole Palmer, and intriguing Brazilian starlet Kayky are all under contract until 2026.
Then there's Zack Steffen, Laporte, Nathan Ake, Kevin De Bruyne, and Bernardo, all of whom have contracts that will end in 2025. City are anticipated to finalize contracts for Phil Foden, Rodri, and Aleks Zinchenko, who are all due in 2024, while the fates of Raheem Sterling, Ilkay Gundogan, Riyad Mahrez, and Gabriel Jesus, who have only 18 months left on their present contracts, require the greatest attention. The Blues have a four- to five-year strategic plan in place for their team, however it cannot account for the unpredictability of player form, whims, and injuries.
However, they already have a rough idea of how the core of the City team would appear in 2025, with Palmer, as well as Kayky and James McAtee, in the mix. Long-term contracts not only provide stability and strategic planning for the squad, but they also safeguard your most precious assets, as Liverpool is learning with Salah demanding a pay commensurate with his reputation as a Ballon D'Or contender. Salah, Mane, and most likely Firmino will all be kept by the Merseyside club, while Naby Keita has just over a year left on his contract.
However, the ambiguity is not a good thing. City has excelled at long-term planning, both in terms of commercial revenue and the composition of their playing team, and they are well positioned to maintain their present dominance in English football.
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