Sometimes it is better to be lucky than good when you write these columns. Here are my comments from two weeks ago which envisioned such a scenario:
"The bottom line with Villa next season is Gareth Barry. If he stays, and I don't believe that will be the case, then Villa should remain in contention. If Barry leaves then the heart of the club is gone and it will take them a year to regroup. Where Barry ends up is to me the most crucial off season move of all.
If Barry ends up at Liverpool then Rafa will finally truly have the squad to challenge United. Then again if it is Arsenal, which is where I believe he should go, then the Gunners will be right back in the thick of things.
As you may recall prior to the arrival of Martin O'Neill I was hoping that City could end up with Barry as he is a player I rate very highly and his form had artificially dipped. O'Neill got the best out of him alas and Barry returned to the England Squad. I'm very happy with City's midfield, but Barry would be a master stroke if the club could get him; simultaneously having a negative impact on a rival while creating a club captain for City."
But it's not just that City improved themselves and that Villa are massively impacted. Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal could all have used Barry and his addition to their squads could have been the crucial factor in next year's Premier League and Champions League competitions. At a reported Â£12m price tag United, Liverpool and Arsenal must be kicking themselves.
City can sign defenders, attackers and whoever else but what we really needed desperately was a talisman. That one player, like Steven Gerrard or Frank Lampard, that can put the team straight and drive them to success. It's why I expected Arsenal, who need such a player, to make a bid for Barry. It's also why I wanted City to look at Diego before he signed for Juventus.
Liverpool and Chelsea have enough players to compensate if their talisman leaves the club. Villa do not. This signing is pure genius by the club.
And that's before Barry even gets on the field. As Hughes has alluded to in his comments, Barry also brings an ability to play multiple positions: a serviceable left back, an excellent left midfield, a great holding defensive midfielder and superb central midfielder. The latter is the role played by Michael Johnson, who we so missed last year.
This is yet another player signed by Hughes, after Vincent Kompany and Pablo Zabaleta, who can play multiple positions. And crucially can also fill the left midfield role if Martin Petrov were to be sidelined again. City now have a midfield group that can compete with anyone in the Premier League. I have fingers crossed that Elano, Petrov and others are not off loaded. Petrov, Barry, Elano, Robinho, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Stephen Ireland, Johnson, Nigel de Jong with Kompany and Zabaleta as options is an incredible grouping.
And formation wise a 4-3-3, 4-1-4-1 and 4-4-2 now become reasonable options to go with the 4-2-3-1 and 4-5-1 that we saw last season.
City are still at least a season and a revamped defence away from challenging the big four, but what an excellent start to the summer.