Whilst Manchester City’s transfer business this summer has been littered with good signings, their best piece of business could arguably be considered the tying down of Pablo Zabaleta to a contract until 2017, which has delighted the City supporters. The Argentine has been a revelation for the Blues in the last couple of years, and has now signed a new deal with the club to stay through what should be the prime of his career.
Whilst much of this summer has been filled with rumors about some of City’s star players wanting to leave the Etihad, this news comes as a big relief to the City supporters. Sergio Aguero has been linked to both of Barcelona’s big two, Vincent Kompany has been linked to the Catalan Giants, and Zabaleta himself has been linked with a move to Fiorentina. Despite these rumors failing to come to fruition, they have still been unnerving to the City faithful, and this announcement will have settled any lingering nerves.
The Argentina international is now entering his sixth season with Manchester City, having joined in 2008, and has since become a crowd favorite because of not only his ability, but also his attitude on the pitch, which has endeared supporters to him in his time at the club. He is regularly seen with cuts on various parts of his body sustained during a match, and even once played with a broken nose.
Despite the right-back having a poor start to his time in Manchester, much as Vincent Kompany did, sticking by the player has paid dividends to City as they now have quite possibly the best right-back in the Premier League. He first rose to prominence as City’s first-choice during the run-in of the 2011-12 season, the club’s title-winning season. Despite Micah Richards being some fan’s choice before then, a string of good performances by Zabaleta earned him the chance to stay in the team, going on to score a goal in the final game against Queens Park Rangers. Since then, he hasn’t looked back and has been an integral part of Manchester City’s side.
This deal could work out very well for Manchester City, due to the fact that they have tied down the 28 year-old for his best years, which could seriously contribute to success at the Etihad. He’s been fantastic just in the last couple of years, but I think that we’ll see him improving even more in the future and having a defining effect on City’s side. On his day, there are very few right-backs in the world better than him, and this will without a doubt carry on for a while.
Whilst this news has delighted Manchester City supporters, it won’t have pleased Micah Richards, who lost his place in the City line-up to the Argentine player. Richards, who has been with the club for the last eight years, has suffered troubles with injuries over the last two seasons, opening the door for Zabaleta to step in and cement his place in the team. The Englishman has found it difficult to break back into the team at City, and there have been question marks raised over his future at City. Bayern Munich, Inter Milan, and Arsenal have all been linked with a move for Richards this summer, who might want to leave the Blues in order to gain first-team action.
This new contract for Zabaleta is very positive for Manchester City, as it is very important to keep the key men in a squad together, such as Zabaleta, Kompany, and Aguero. This is what the top teams like Real Madrid and Manchester United do, and it’s what City should do in order to sustain success and keep a sense of togetherness in the squad. If the players are constantly moving from team to team, and the first-team players are coming and going, you have a much smaller chance of continued success.
The Manchester City faithful have been equally delighted and excited by this news, which surely gave the team a boost in their opening game thrashing of Newcastle United, as they have a right to be. Zabaleta has really shown his quality in the last couple of seasons, and has continued it in the recent pre-season. Zabaleta cost less than £7m when he signed for the Citizens five years ago, and has proved an absolute bargain since. He’s brought a lot to Manchester City, and I believe he still has a lot more to offer in the coming seasons as City look to build on their recent successes.