Now that Manchester City has been knocked out of the Champions League and are currently sitting in the top 4 for next season, Citizens supporters are turning their attention to the 2015-16 campaign. There is one thing that may not be on the minds of their fans, but is becoming apparent to the rest of us, Manchester City is old. Not the club itself, but rather the players that take the pitch.
Everyone loves a nostalgic hero, that is just a fact. It is sometimes hard to come to grips with the fact that it is time for a player to move on, and Man City is approaching that point. The statistics back up that assertion. City has the oldest average starting 11 in the Premier League at 28.8 years old, while also being the oldest in the Champions League at 29.7 years of age. In the Champions League, the next oldest team is Juventus, who average a 28.8 starting 11 age, almost a full year younger than Manchester City. The gap between Man City in the Premier League is slightly less, at .3, but still proves that City are the oldest team around.
There are multiple ways to skin a cat, as the ages of the top 7 teams on the league table are all over the board. Man City is in the top 7 while being the oldest, but so is Tottenham, who is the youngest at 24.9 years old. Obviously both teams are playing very well, but are doing so with differing styles of play. One could argue all day about experience versus youth, but we’d like to address the glaring issue for Man City.
Vincent Kompany is currently the captain of the team. He is 28. While defenders typically have longer top level careers, he won’t be around forever. Yaya Toure is the vice-captain, and 31 years old. He is obviously still a top notch midfielder, but has lost some of his pace and stamina with age. Frank Lampard is an even older midfielder at 36, who still comes off the bench with regularity, making the occasional start as well. James Milner is 29, Pablo Zabaleta is 30, and Fernandinho is 29 as well. All of these players have been staples in the City side, and will need to have replacements in the near future.
There are some positions that are sitting pretty and have youthful talents in them. Joe Hart is 27, which is pretty young for a position in which players sometimes play into their 40s. Sergio Aguero is hitting his stride and perhaps nearing his peak at 26. Samir Nasri and Stevan Jovetic are unique talents who are still 27 and 25, respectively. The team has a good base of players that will lead the next generation, and hopefully can recapture the magic that happened last season.
Man City do have multiple young players who are loaned out this season, but none have really established themselves as stars. There have also been rumors that City have been looking to the Bundesliga to cherry pick players like Marco Reus and Kevin De Bruyne, but I won’t believe that until I see it. The Citizens will be searching all around the globe to find their next star. They have players from 10 different countries on their squad, making them one of the most diverse in the Premier League.
There are rumors of Manuel Pellegrini being shown the door and to give the new manager a clean slate to work with. I personally see it as difficult to fire a manager who just won the league title a year ago. But, if the club decides to move on from some of their aging players, they might be more inclined to part with Pellegrini as well.
Of course, this is all up to Manchester City’s ownership and leadership. We might see the same players staying and defying the ever-ticking clock. They will get older and eventually be seen as expendable by management, who will likely cash them in when they still have value. The club will do whatever it takes to return to the top of the Premier League. For a club whose success is relatively recent, it is interesting to see how the club will go forward.