City Set out an early marker to re-claim ‘their’ title

Manchester City’s plans for a title charge in 2013-14 are taking shape, with a £30 million deal to land Fernandinho the club’s first piece of business in what looks set to be a busy couple of weeks.

The Brazil international signed on a five-year contract on Thursday after impressing City officials in the Champions League for Shakhtar Donetsk.

Sevilla winger Jesus Navas is expected to join Fernandinho at the Etihad Stadium, while Manuel Pellegrini will reportedly replace Roberto Mancini as manager next week as the club look to justify their status as second favourites with Paddy Power to win the league next year.

Fernandinho, who has represented his country five times, admitted he has been “waiting a long time” for the chance to play in the Premier League. He has described his move to City as a “dream”.

“My ambition here is to win all the titles, the team here is strong, and so is the greatness of the club and the supporters. Professionally this is a spectacular thing,” the 28-year-old told the club’s official website.

“Playing for a huge club in a huge league makes me so happy. I hope I will be able to repay City for what they have done for me.”

City fans will be hoping Fernandinho’s signing is followed by more big-money arrivals as the club aim to wrestle the Premier League crown from Manchester United’s grasp (United are currently 21/10 favourites in the Premier League betting odds), a title they won for the first time in 44 years the previous season.

Supporters will start to believe the club can challenge the best in Europe next term if Spain international Navas completes his move. He is a medical away from making the switch to England.

Pellegrini will inherit a strong squad when he takes the reins and will have his own recruitment plans. With the backing of the club’s wealthy owners, he will be confident of turning City into the most feared side in the Premier League.

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Five things Jose needs to do

Jose Mourinho returns to the Premier League once again at the Stamford Bridge helm. The Chelsea manager won the title twice during his first stint but left under a cloud of disappointment, the Champions League a long way from his grasp.

Now he’s back and with this squad is more than ready to challenge Manchester United and Manchester City for the title. Here are five things he must get right to justify Chelsea’s status as one of the favourites in the Premier League title betting:

 1. Re-arrange the defence

Mourinho was the master of shutting down games when his Blues side went a goal or two up and although he’s developed a more attacking flair at Real Madrid his main priority remains not to concede.

The Portuguese boss recently confirmed John Terry as captain but don’t be surprised if he drafts in a decent centre-half to challenge Gary Cahill, with David Luiz possibly pushing into defensive midfield.

2. Please the press

Over 250 journalists crammed into the press conference for Mourinho’s official unveiling on Monday and they enjoyed a love-hate relationship with him during his first tenure. The press currently love Jose – he’s at least a story to write about over preseason – but he’ll put his foot in it from time to time next term. Keeping the right side of the press is vital for his and Chelsea’s credibility.

3. Buy a striker

Chelsea boast Demba Ba and Romelu Lukaku but have few other options, with Fernando Torres poised to depart the club. Mourinho needs a target man the other two can feed off and Edin Dzeko or Stevan Jovetic would be great additions to the squad. As for Torres, his Stamford Bridge soiree is surely at an end.

4. Win a trophy

Chelsea are a good price with Titan Bet to win the league this season but could also challenge for European honours if Mourinho gets his house in order. This team has a great defence and one of the most exciting attacking midfields in Europe, an asset that should earn them at least a domestic cup if not more.

5. Sort out Juan Mata

There are rumblings in the press that Juan Mata is on his way out of Chelsea, which would be a real shame. It’s not just his talent that makes him such a valuable player but his attitude is right up there with the best professionals in sport. Like Oscar he rarely moans or mouths off at the referee, instead letting his feet do the talking.

If Mata leaves, Mourinho must find a better replacement and few of those are available this summer.