While already this year Manchester City have proven their impending dominance of English football, lifting the English Premier League by the skin of their teeth, could the Blue Moon rise further yet?
The season wasn't exactly plain-sailing. Issues with bench-lover Tevez and the notorious 'Super Mario' showed weakness in the City camp. However, despite these hiccoughs, they still acheived a first league title in 44 years.
One problem City faced this season of course was losing Yaya Toure, a key player, to the African Cup of Nations. The visible dip in form during his absence is evidence of his importance to the team. While De Jong and Barry are decent players, the Ivorian is a class apart.
The consistency of players like Kompany, Hart and Silva was also key to City's success. Often, along with Toure, the 'spine' of the team. When any of them were missing, City struggled. I think, despite the fact they will return to the Etihad in August as champions, Mancini will want to strengthen further. Their performance in Europe was somewhat below expectations, and I'm sure the Italian will want a marked sign of improvement in the coming year. Even more so considering Chelsea went all the way to the final and returned from Munich victorious.
So I think Mancini will probably look to add perhaps 3 or 4 players to his squad, while it is likely that a few will be shown the door too. Here's where I think he should bolster:
Right-back: I believe Richards and Zabaleta, while both excellent players in their own right, will most likely have some competition to deal with next season. Last term, there never seemed to be a consistency in this position, often interchanging between the two. Mancini either has to stick with one or find a replacement. With Bayern Munich's poor season and Champion's League final disappointment, Phillip Lahm could be an option worth looking into for City.
Holding midfield: If Mancini continues in the formation which won him the title, I can imagine he will add another defensive midfielder to his squad. Toure is an obvious starter, but I fear that Barry isn't quite up to scratch, an opinion I personally have held for a few years now. With the emergence of players such as Ramires and Mikel at Chelsea, perhaps Michael Essien could be on the cards for Mancini, or the Italian connection to Roma's Daniele De Rossi would be interesting to see next season.
Centre Forward: You can never have too much firepower. While Silva and Aguero have been excellent for City, Dzeko at times has gone off the boil a bit. While his contribution has been decent, I can't help but think Mancini might want another option up front. Of course, with the unpredictability of Balotelli and Tevez, it wouldn't harm anyone to have an extra striker in the squad. A big money move for Robin Van Persie or Drogba would be intriguing to see next year.