From a neutral perspective, Manchester City’s 3-2 defeat in the Bernabeu last Tuesday was the prime example of why football remains the nation’s number one sport.
In a summer in which football has received its fair share of criticism, this match went someway to putting the sport back into a positive light. It was a fantastic advertisement for the game.
Great goals, fluid football, late drama all combining to produce a wonderfully enjoyable 90 minutes of entertainment. From Mancini’s perspective, his take on the match may have been slightly different.
He will have most likely seen the game as further evidence that his squad still needs strengthening and is far from the finished product. Mancini’s moans and gripes have become a little tiresome over the summer. After all, he does possess arguably the best squad in the Premier League, both quality wise and depth wise, and he does still have resources at his disposal that are the envy of every manager in the country. But if Manchester City are to evolve from Premier League winners to European conquerors, perhaps Mancini has a point after all.
Manchester City have began their domestic campaign a little shakily, especially from a defensive point of view, and although they came so close to a famous win in the Bernabeu, there can be no complaints that Real Madrid were worthy winners in a game they largely dominated.
The latest name rumoured to be catching Mancini’ eye is Abdelaziz Barrada. Barrada, who is 23 currently plays for Getafe of Spain. According to Spanish media, City will keep a close eye on him, and will ponder over a potential move next summer.
Competition for Barrada will be fierce, however, with Barcelona, PSG and Liverpool also all reported to be interested. A source close to Barrada said, “We are not surprised (about the interest) because Abdel is a player who has progressed enormously, but in this moment we are not negotiating with any club and have not received any offers for his services.”
This isn’t the first time that Barrada has attracted interest from clubs on English soil, with Everton, Newcastle and Tottenham all apparently interested throughout the transfer window, although no offers were actually submitted.
So what do we know about Barrada? Well, he made his international debut for Morocco earlier this year having impressed for the under 23 national side. Domestically, he spent a season in the Getafe B side in the Segunda Division B, Spain’s third division, before earning a contract in 2011 for Getafe, his first professional contract.
All this adds up to a player who is progressing nicely at every level, and at the age of 23, now would be a great time for Manchester City to bring him to the Etihad Stadium. Of course, Manchester City have more immediate short term problems that need addressing first.
Six goals conceded in four Premier League games, alongside shipping in three in the Bernabeu and two in the Community Shield victory over Chelsea is not the hallmark of a side who have lofty European and domestic ambitions. But with a player of such potential, and interest so strong, Manchester City may regret opting against making an offer for Barrada.