Manchester City finally won their first UEFA Champions League title in Istanbul this year. Their triumph came at the expense of Inter Milan, with Rodri Hernandez’s strike proving to be the decider in the contest.
Pep Guardiola’s side has been the favourite to win the competition for several years now but has historically lacked the mental edge to get over the line. However, this season, they have finally reached the pinnacle of European football. Now that Man City have their first UCL title, is it likely they could begin a period of domination in Europe’s most prestigious competition?
City is by far the strongest team in Europe
City is currently the strongest team on the continent, by far, and judging by past transfer windows, they will rest on their laurels this summer. Guardiola is often relentless in the transfer market, which means that the squad should be well-placed to retain their European title next year. Optimistically, they could perhaps continue that momentum for the foreseeable future.
Guardiola’s side will head into next season’s competition with the pressure of defending their maiden honour and attaining a successive title. Their position as the strongest team in Europe is reflected by the murmurings of pundits and oddsmakers, already.
A quick look at the markets evidences this as Man City is currently priced at odds of 9/4 to win the UCL next season, according to BetUK, which is ranked as one of the best football betting sites on the scene.
If City can secure another title next campaign, then they could mount a Real Madrid-like streak of securing Europe’s greatest prize many times in succession. The Manchester-based side could very quickly go from European minnows to genuine European royalty. With recent performances taken into consideration and the ripe talent within the squid, there’s plenty to suggest they could dominate Europe for years to come.
There are question marks over whether Ilkay Gundogan and Bernardo Silva will remain at the club next season. However, City are already aggressively pursuing midfielders in the transfer market.
Bernardo Silva and Ilkay Gündogan stats for Manchester City.— The Football Arena (@thefootyarena) June 13, 2023
Two of the most underrated players of this legendary squad. 👏🔵 pic.twitter.com/fA53gcJSbo
Mateo Kovacic has been heavily linked with a move from Chelsea. Regardless of whether the Croatian makes the move or not, it can be trusted that City will only replace their departing stars with some of the finest players around Europe.
Guardiola is a manager that does not tend to sign stop gaps. He signs players that are at the top of their game and could be a crucial part of his squad for years to come.
Besides the midfield area, City does not necessarily require any other additions to the squad. But still, Guardiola has been linked with bringing some of the most stunning defensive prospects to the Etihad Stadium. City may already be the strongest team in Europe, but the Spanish coach clearly has ambitions to strengthen the team further.
The competition could be weaker than usual
Aside from the quality of City itself, we must look at the quality of the opposition they could face. This can help determine the likelihood of a period of domination genuinely occurring.
Much of the European elite have glaring issues in their squads. Both Real Madrid and Bayern Munich lack a prolific centre forward. Karim Benzema departed Los Blancos to Al Ittihad in Saudi Arabia, and Robert Lewandowski left Bavaria for Barcelona last summer.
It is unclear whether either side will recruit a natural number nine in the transfer market, or they will deploy a make-shift option. The uncertainty surrounding two of Europe’s biggest clubs could benefit the stacked City squad next season. Predicting the future of football is not an easy task, but City looks well-positioned to defeat either side if they are paired in the UCL draws for the knockout stage.
City’s domestic rivals Arsenal could form some of their strongest opposition in European competition in the near future. However, the Gunners squad is relatively inexperienced on the European stage. They will likely require a few seasons of sustaining their place in the UCL before they mount a serious challenge for the trophy.
Liverpool of course will not feature in next season’s competition after their poor domestic campaign led to them finishing in fifth place in the Premier League. Throughout Guardiola’s tenure, Jurgen Klopp’s side has certainly represented his most feared opposition. Liverpool even knocked City out of the UCL back in 2017/18 in the midst of a record-breaking campaign for the Blues.
Based on the strength of City’s team in comparison to other top teams around Europe. They will never receive a greater chance to dominate the European stage. Guardiola has all of the world-class tools he needs and is set to supplement them further with extra depth. It would take a huge upset for the Mancunians to be prevented from defending their title next year.