I got up this morning expecting another tense, dull day to be spattered with the occasional factual transfer as the transfer window creaked shut getting excited about nothing much in particular. A day spent scouring the BBC and Sky Sports transfer vidi-printers and tutting at bored 14 year old’s just texting and e-mailing rubbish to fill the gaps as the frustration grew as the day shortened, the last couple of transfer windows have been very dull affairs, so I was not expecting much. Silly me.
What I didn’t expect was that Manchester City would, as of 9.30am, became the richest football club in the world with the end of Thaksin Shinawatra’s short reign as owner and start throing money around like water. I never expected the Royal Family of the United Arab Emirates to buy any club, never mind Manchester City and immediately tell manager Mark Hughes to spend, spend, spend in an unprecedented scenario. The new owners, Abu Dhabi United Group are the investment & financial arm of the Royal Family and have almost 1 trillion pounds available to them, or 10 Roman Abramovichs. This is football investment on an unbelievable level and has completely changed the entire landscape of world football in a few short hours.
If that wasn’t enough, they then offered a British record transfer fee of £35 million pounds for Dimitar Berbatov, which Tottenham accepted, then announced they’d bid £30 million for David Villa and a further £25 million for Mario Gomes. As I type this, Marca in Spain is reporting that they’ve also bid for Robinho and several other high profile signings but other than the 3 strikers that ADUG spokesperson Sulaiman Al-Fahim confirmed earlier today, nothing is concrete fact. Manchester City can now afford to buy anyone at any club with no worries at all, but the one thing that holds them back is the lack of Champions League football, a key point that will probably see Berbatov choose the red side of Manchester over the blue. Ferguson will be determined to finalise the transfer he sees as vital to enabling United to try and become the first club to win back to back Champions League titles and I expect Berbatov to be a United player by midnight.
The majority of players they need to push on to go for a top four spot would seem to be loathe to swap Champions League for a season of UEFA Cup football so they may not get the players they need by the time the window shuts at midnight but don’t rule out some massive deals being prepared for the next transfer window. Also key to their forward recruitment though is that City are in a position to attract these players in January when they’ll need them, so Hughes knows he needs to keep City in and around the top 8 come the turn of the year. Additionally, the due to Manchester City deal, I expect this to push DIC forward to purchase Liverpool, now that their royal rivals have trumped them to buying a Premiership club first, something that will not be going unnoticed back in the U.A.E.
One man who won’t be a Manchester City anymore is Vedran Corluka who confirmed his protracted move to Tottenham, originally completed on August 10th, this morning to join Pavlyuchenko at Spurs Lodge. It’s been probably the worst kept transfer in football so no surprises that he now joins up with his best friend, Luka Modric. A canny pair of signing for Ramos to add a bit more depth to the squad. All in all, today could be the most important day in the history of the Premiership so far and with 3 hours to go until the window closes, who knows who else is going to switch sides and which football club is going to be bought next by midnight.