Wilkins: City can challenge for title

08 August 2010 11:43
Chelsea assistant manager Ray Wilkins believes Manchester City can challenge for the Premier League title this season.

City have already boosted their ranks this summer by recruiting David Silva, Yaya Toure, Aleksandar Kolarov and Jerome Boateng, while Mario Balotelli and James Milner are expected to be two more expensive arrivals.

Expectations for the coming campaign are high at Eastlands ahead of next weekend's opening round of Premier league fixtures, but Wilkins feels it will be vital for City boss Roberto Mancini to shape a coherent side from his star-studded squad if they are to be genuine contenders for the title Chelsea won last season.

"It is a lot of money (they have spent) but they have very wealthy backers and I would imagine before we kick off next week there will be a few more players going in there as well," Wilkins told BBC Radio Five Live's Sportsweek programme.

"But it is never easy when so many new players come together. It is very nice and pleasant to have new players come in but you have to mould a team.

"The game is a team game and it is not easy for Mancini to put those guys together all at once.

"It is a juggling job and Roberto has been in that situation with Inter Milan before, so he'll understand that situation and I'm sure he'll handle it very well.

"Manchester United will be genuine contenders, but I think there are two or three others who will have a little dabble at us - like Manchester City, if they can form that group. They have very good individuals and could challenge us."

Chelsea hope to make an addition to their own squad in the next few days, having agreed an £18.2million fee with Benfica for Brazil midfielder Ramires.

"Nothing has been finalised as yet, but we are certainly in the mix for Ramires," Wilkins said.

"We would like him to join us and hopefully that will go through pretty shortly."

Asked if the player might figure in the Blues squad by next weekend, Wilkins said: "We would like to think something like that would happen."

A player being linked with a move away from Stamford Bridge is Ashley Cole, but Wilkins moved to dismiss speculation the England defender could be about to join Real Madrid.

"Ashley is fine and he has trained extremely well with us," Wilkins said.

"He only came back on the 26th (of July), so he is not at full speed as yet but he seems to be in a good frame of mind and there has certainly been no chat between Ashley and myself as regards him leaving."

Source: Team_Talk