Sky Bet’s ‘Start of the Season Debate’ – Is Man City as champions a foregone conclusion?

Episode 2 of Sky Bet’s ‘Start of the season Debate’ show has launched as Graeme Souness, Roy Keane, Micah Richards and Kelly Cates discuss how the defending Premier League champions fare next season after a host of new signings entered the club. 

Erling Haaland is the most high-profile City acquisition this summer and will look to fill the lofty boots left by club legend Sergio Aguero. Whilst Richards believes the 22-year-old can lead the line for City, Souness has some reservations. 

“If you’re a striker you want two things; you want it as quick as possible and you want it as accurate as possible,” said Souness. 

“City is a more predictable build up. But I don’t think it’s a complete given that he’s going to go there and be the kind of goalscorer he was in the Bundesliga.”

The conversation then turned onto Jack Grealish who many believe is still yet to live up to his £100m price tag after moving to Man City last summer. But Roy Keane is willing to give the England international the benefit of the doubt.

“We’ll try and give Jack the benefit of the doubt, he’s 26/27 now, thinking he maybe should have adapted to City a little bit quicker… but sometimes it can be difficult. He’s not really had the run of games and he would have definitely been disappointed in being left out of the last game of the season against his old club Aston Villa,” stated Keane. 

On the other hand, Souness is sceptical of the role of Grealish within the City squad, attributing his slow start in Manchester due to him possibly being a ‘not a quick learner’. 

Souness explained: “I think he’s the most fouled player in the league two consecutive years, that again is not a good sign for me. That means you’re having too many touches. 

“I’ll put it another way, he’s not a quick learner. All the top players are quick learners. Jack’s had a year and for me, he’s not improved.”

The reigning Premier League champions have made multiple moves within this summer’s transfer window to shake-up the squad. Erling Haaland, Julian Alvarez, Kalvin Phillips and Stefan Ortega have all arrived in Manchester already, and City are in discussions with Brighton over left-back Marc Cucurella, with an initial £30m bid rejected. 

In turn, high-profile exits from the club have also transpired, with Gabriel Jesus joining Arsenal and Raheem Sterling signing with Chelsea

Sky Bet currently has City as the comfortable favourites as next season’s champions, listing them at 4/7, even going as far as offering 18/1 to go next season unbeaten.