This could be the summer of the great Manchester City revolution. Not since Sheikh Mansour became owner in 2008 will there have been as seismic a shake-up as the one being plotted by the hierarchy.
The faltering Premier League title defence and Champions League exit are the catalysts for a major overhaul at the Etihad Stadium.
The holistic ethos that recruited Manuel Pellegrini as manager in the summer of 2013 may remain but at elite level there will be a cold look at what has gone wrong and who is responsible.
The prime area here is the ageing first-team squad. For a club of City’s ambition to have only one player – Sergio Agüero – below 27 in the starting line-up that fell 1-0 to Barcelona at Camp Nou on Wednesday points to mismanagement, so Pellegrini, chief executive Ferran Soriano and sporting director Txiki Begiristain are under scrutiny.
Soriano and Begiristain will be asked to explain a failed transfer policy since the Chilean became manager. This has featured 11 major signings of which only
and Fernandinho can be viewed as successes.
Eliaquim Mangala is the headline disappointment, the £42 million (€58 million) paid for the defender last summer appearing more exorbitant with each uneven display.
Since the close season of 2013 the investment in Mangala plus Jesus Navas (€14.9 million), Stevan Jovetic (€30.4 million), Alvaro Negredo (€27.7 million), Fernando (€16.6 million), Bacary Sagna (free), Frank Lampard (free), Willy Caballero (€8 million), Bruno Zuculini (€4 million) and Mangala has totalled £119.9 million (€166 million).
Yet the aim of equipping the first team with two world-class footballers for each position has been a marked failure.
The scale of the proposed overhaul means it is easier to name the players City are clear should be retained. Into this band fall
Those who are vulnerable form a gang of up to 13, including some of the club's stellar names. Yaya Touré leads a group that comprises Edin Dzeko, Sagna, Demichelis, Aleksandar Kolarov, Micah Richards, James Milner, Samir Nasri, Jovetic, Pablo Zabaleta, Navas, Gael Clichy and Fernando.
The prime assets here are Touré, who has two years left on his contract, and Dzeko, Kolarov and Nasri, who all signed new long-term deals last year. Although not all of this quartet or the other players will be sold, City would hope to raise at least £50 million (€69 million) from a sale, while also reducing the wage bill.
Whoever does depart is expected to be replaced, in the main, by younger players in a bid to inject new life into the squad, with Wolfsburg's Kevin De Bruyne a prime target and Newcastle United's Ayoze Perez also on the radar.
Although the drive to invest in youth is understandable, if the rate of change does prove to be more revolution than evolution City could endure a difficult season, as recruits may need longer to settle. – Guardian service