With most of the squad away with their countries for EURO 2020 and the Copa America, come the 1st of July City’s coffers were boosted by almost £50M with deals going through for players who had been out on loan for most of last season.
Angelino joined RB Leipzig on a permanent deal after his appearances for them activated their £16.3m buy option in his loan deal. Then Lukas Nmecha joined Wolfsburg on a permanent transfer for a fee of around £11m plus add-ons
Leeds United exercised their option to buy Jack Harrison for an initial £11M after spending three years on loan at the Yorkshire club. And then The Blues coined in a further £11M through a sell on clause as Jadon Sancho moved to Man United from Dortmund.
Due to the uncertainty of Covid-19 and the limited time before the start of the season, there would be no money spinning world pre-season tour, instead friendlies with league sides were arranged, to be played behind closed doors at the Academy Stadium.
First up were Preston, and a young side with a sprinkling of senior players beat the Lilywhites 2-0. Then a similar young squad saw off Barnsley 4-0, and then Blackpool 4-1.
City then made a major statement in their attempt to defend their Premier League crown, As they met Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish’s £100M release clause to bring the England star to the Etihad, Jack stating “City are the best team in the country with a manager considered to be the best in the world, it’s a dream come true to be part of this club”.
Still without the services of most of the EURO2020 stars, City had to field a very much understrength side to face, basically a full strength Leicester side in the Community Shield, despite a good second half display by Pep’s side, former Blues striker Iheanacho scored a last minute penalty that saw City lose 1-0.
It wasn’t the best start to the Premier League either, with so many of the senior squad missing from the starting lineup, City visited Tottenham and despite a decent performance, lost 1-0.
For the first time in nearly 18 months The Etihad welcomed a capacity crowd, as Covid-19 restrictions had been all but removed, and a much stronger City side, still without Kevin De Bruyne, John Stones and Phil Foden, tore a newly promoted Norwich side apart, winning 5-0.
In the week that followed City made a sensational, but unwelcome statement that Benjamin Mendy had been suspended after being charged and remanded in custody on four counts of rape and a sexual assault.
On the day of the next game, against Arsenal, two amazing statues were unveiled at The Etihad to honour City legends Vincent Kompany and David Silva, and on the pitch City’s current would-be legends did them proud with another scintillating 5-0 victory, the third consecutive home match won by that score.
Following the international break Pep, unusually, named an unchanged side again for a tough trip to Leicester City, the Citizens dominated the game and won 1-0 to make it three victory’s in a row.
The start of the Champions League group stage began with a very entertaining 6-3 victory over RB Leipzig at The Etihad, however at home in the league three days later, a tired looking City side dropped points in a 0-0 draw against Southampton. Pep commenting: “Always when the game is not good I feel bad for [the fans]. They come to see a show, to see a game and when it doesn’t happen I feel a bit guilty because we didn’t play good. We were not good in our build-up. We lost simple balls in our process because we were not clever and a little bit sloppy.”