Manchester City: The Poachers of the Transfer Market
Let me start off by admitting that I am a die-hard Manchester United fan, but I will try and keep my analysis of our bitter cross-town rivals as objective as possible.
Ever since Sheikh Mansour’s takeover at Eastlands, money has been pumped into Manchester City at an ungodly rate. World-class players from every major league in Europe have been bought with the intent of propelling the club to domestic and European glory. Admittedly, the takeover has made quite an impact on the club’s success. City finished tenth in the League in 2008, the first season of Mansour’s reign, and have progressed each year until this past season, when they qualified for Champions League play for the first time in their history. You can read Brian Connell’s article for a more in-depth analysis of the transfers City have made since 2008. However my goal is to shed light on the scores of rumors that have surrounded the club regarding their plans this coming summer.
Of all the Premier League clubs, City has easily been the one linked to the most players this summer. They are reportedly in the race to sign Sergio Aguero, Alexis Sanchez, Javier Pastore, Gary Cahill, Gervinho and Jan Vertonghen, amongst several others. Now, there’s no telling if some of these are legitimate pursuits or whether they’re linked simply because they’re City and that’s what City does, but the mere fact that all of these big names are being mentioned highlights the problem with their squad structure. City already boasts the largest first-team squad in the Premier League, with a plethora of excellent players struggling to get playing time. If even half of these rumored transfers end up making their way to Eastlands, this problem will be grossly exacerbated. Even more worrying for City fans is the fact that not many current City players have been rumored to leave Eastlands thus far (only Jerome Boateng and possibly Carlos Tevez come to mind, currently.)
The problem is that the club simply has too much money to burn, and burning is exactly what they’re doing to that money. Rather than develop their existing squad, Mansour and Mancini simply want to keep adding to it. Whether they genuinely believe that they’re strengthening their squad or if they simply want to snap up players before their League rivals can get their signatures, it is clearly a problem. They are not really taking into account their squad’s weaknesses with these transfers, either, but rather simply trying to sign as many big names as possible.
Look at Chelsea, for example. Like City, they too have a billionaire sugar daddy in Roman Abramovich. The West London outfit, however, seem to be much more focused and direct in terms of who they’re going after this summer. Chelsea have been linked with the likes of Neymar, Romelu Lukaku, Luka Modric, Wesley Sneijder, Javier Pastore and Christian Eriksen. They seem to be looking to address two positions for the most part: striker and center-midfielder, both positions where their squad needs a facelift. Torres needs a strike partner that will complement his strengths, while there has been a creative void in the heart of Chelsea’s midfield for quite some time. Their transfer strategy is much more likely than City’s to bring them success in the coming season, and I can say I’ll be genuinely afraid of the strength of Chelsea’s squad.
In short, Manchester City need to buckle down and assess their game-plan in the transfer market before they completely go out of control with spending. From my perspective on the red half of Manchester, however, I can’t say I’d be too displeased if they continued in their wayward direction.