Whilst their nearest competitors remain embroiled in protracted transfer sagas with their most cherished targets, Man City have handled their business and their bid to reclaim the Premier League title can only benefit as a result.
Manchester United have Cesc Fabregas, Chelsea have Wayne Rooney, Arsenal had Gonzalo Higuain and now Luis Suarez. All players pursued like lovelorn teenagers with no care for what the public thinks, despite the fact that their conquests all stand a big chance of being ultimately unsuccessful.
The summer transfer window has begun to bleed into the start of pre-season and whilst their rivals are still missing potentially influential pieces of their 2013/14 jigsaws, City have Fernandinho, Jesus Navas, Steven Jovetic and Alvaro Negredo available for weeks of training before the campaign begins.
Their rivals will no doubt face myriad tactical revisions should they acquire their most-wanted men, meaning City – who will have had extra time to work on the cohesiveness of their unit – stand an excellent chance of hitting the ground running in the new campaign and building up an advantage over the chasing pack.
Last term Roberto Mancini was haunted by an inability to bring in the fresh faces he desired, ending up making do with poor-man’s alternatives like Jack Rodwell and Scott Sinclair.
In the meantime Chelsea – who had the major signings of Eden Hazard and Oscar completed by this time last year – started the Premier League in rocket-like fashion.
If the 2012/13 table tells us anything about City’s struggles to reach the previous season’s league-winning heights last term then it’s the goals-for column, with 23 less goals scored than in 2011/12.
The new arrivals at the Eithad look sure to remedy this – thanks to the guile and creativity of Navas and Jovetic and the dead-eyed finishing of Negredo – making City a more appealing title prospect at 11/5, having evolved from last year’s toothless misery merchants.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.