I know! Believe me I know. It sounds preposterous to even contemplate. And just so we are completely clear, I'm not saying City are the best team, not by a long shot. There's a reason I have predicted them to finish sixth this year. Nor do City have the best individual players. The Big Four, Tottenham, Everton and Aston Villa have that covered.
I've talked about before how City's Goalkeeping, Midfield and Striking options from a depth standpoint are outstanding. Now the club adds Lescott and you'll note that once again with a signing Mark Hughes has indicated that the player can play multiple positions.
If we presume that Garrido goes before the deadline and Dunne stays the club has four players that can play LB (Bridge, Sylvinho, Lescott and Barry), three that can play RB (Richards, Zabaleta and Onuoha) and six that can play CB (Lescott, Toure, Kompany, Onuoha, Dunne and Richards). Ten players that can be mixed as needed based on form, injuries, suspensions and African Nations Cup call ups. It's a solid squad.
Taken as a group only Manchester United's might be considered better due to the high quality of starters Vidic, Ferdinand and Evra and the promise of Rafael and Fabio, but neither Gary Neville or Wes Brown would crack the City squad.
Where United win in this regard is that their squad has very specific roles. There is a well defined first eleven, good quality back ups that fit the system, aging superstar players that can inspire and a good crop of youngsters that get to learn and step up as needed. City don't have that mix yet and the sameness of quality throughout the squad will be, I suspect, an occasional detriment as players chaff over playing time.
Jack over at The Lonesome Death of Roy Carroll has commented that the Hughes transfer policy seems to have been specifically geared this year to players that have won trophies, placed high in the Premier League or both. It is a squad designed, it seems to me, with one specific goal in mind. Achieve the target of a top six position this year and challenge for Champions League places next year.
To move to that next level the squad is going to need a little bit more quality. Realistically if you were to list the top ten players in the Premier League I don't believe a City player would be one of those picked. Off hand I'd say Torres, Rooney, Lampard, Gerrard, Fabregas, Arshavin, Modric, Terry, Drogba, and Vidic. City players such as Ireland, Barry and Given would certainly be in contention for the top twenty, but you need that quality at the highest level. This makes the pursuit of John Terry even more logical when you think about it.
City now have a squad that can challenge. Nothing more, nothing less. There will be bumps in the road as the squad comes together, however fundamentally Hughes has in the space of a year rebuilt the team to his liking.
And so I'll return to my original question with a conclusion. City have the deepest squad in the Premier League. The overall construction of Uniteds is probably still better and their high end quality certainly is, but it is starting to get very interesting...