In the four transfer windows that have passed since the summer of 2009, Arab-owned Manchester City have spent an astonishing £275 million on players alone. Not taking wages into account, which often exceed £100,000 a-week with much of the playing staff, it’s fair to say transfer habits have gotten ugly over at Eastlands. When a £33 million transfer for Robinho de Souza become apparent in 2008, the world reacted with a unanimous thud of jaws hitting the floor. Needless to say, this sum isn’t as magnificent in 2011.
Since that summer almost three years ago now, the club has signed ten players that cost between £20m and £27m each, with Edin Dzeko the newest and most expensive of the bunch. However, when a team is dealing with transfers of this magnitude, you’d like to think results would be the outcome.
With the Sheikh flippantly spending millions here and there, quality took a backseat on some of these ‘superstars’. Some of these big names include Jô, Roque Santa Cruz and perhaps most notably, Emmanuel Adebayor. No coincidences that all the players are strikers, and with Adebayor weighing in at a considerable £25 million, the Sky Blues could definitely do with a little more consideration in their scouting.
With Adebayor and Paraguayan Santa Cruz currently out on loan, the club looks set for at least two summer sales after getting rid of Robinho in August for more than a 50% loss. Another possible mistake is Joleon Lescott, who has only really started to feature in the team this season as the £22 million defender never really flourished after such a hard fought battle for his signature with former club Everton.
Also, after a season full of conflict, wild child Mario Balotelli is rumoured to be on the market, after senior members of staff at the club may be considering him to be simply too much hassle. Between injuries and suspensions it’s debatable whether the Italian starlet balances out his negative points, despite a great goal-scoring record.
If a mass evacuation of players in the summer season wasn’t sufficient, manager Roberto Mancini is rumoured to be keeping his options available too. After dealing with Balotelli at Inter, he knew what he was getting into bed with (for once, not literal in football) when he signed the young prodigy. However, this didn’t stop him from stating Mario had “betrayed his trust” after being sent off against Dynamo Kiev midweek. If the 46 year-old was to leave the Manchester outfit, Jose Mourinho is said to be in the picture as a replacement. However, the Real Madrid boss may think twice, as his hopes of someday replacing Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United may be scuppered if he takes too many steps towards the ‘wrong’ side of Manchester.
One would think that Man City would take a look at the competition around them, specifically the two who reside above in the Premier League table, and notice the fact that perhaps throwing millions upon millions of pounds at clubs for their star additions is not the route to success. They’re lucky to be in a financial state with the full backing of a billionaire many times over, but that doesn’t mean it has to be your only weapon. Grass-roots schemes and finding youthful gems in the market are, and will be for the foreseeable future the key to winning.
Starting in 2012, they won’t have a choice, anyway. When the UEFA ‘fair-play initiative’ begins, teams won’t be able to spend these inordinate sums of money on players. That is unless they can break even through merchandise and the likes. Yet, something tells me not even the great Sheikh has made the team that valuable to the public…not yet anyway.