Since their high profile ownership transfer in 2008, Manchester City have risen up from relative footballing obscurity to become one of the most talked about club sides on the planet. Players of the quality of Robinho, Carlos Tevez and David Silva have all entered through the Sky Blues’ revolving doors, part of a spending spree which last season finally reaped dividends, as Manchester City qualified for the 2011/12 UEFA Champions League.
Bizarrely, already weeks have flown by this summer without City splashing so much as a penny on a single player; very strange given their constant activity in past windows. However, while in years gone by Mancini has been willing to take a chance on any high profile player available, this year it looks as though he will take a more measured approach, one dictated by a clear plan for the future, and by the potential of bringing in one of the world’s most sought after stars.
While there is no doubt that the players introduced to City have been improvements on teams past, as of yet, no one shining star has come in to dominate the league; the closest that City came to that was Carlos Tevez, but his injury and commitment problems have blemished what would have been a couple terrific seasons for the Argentine. Interestingly, it is another South American who could come to fill that role, Udinese’s Alexis Sanchez seems to be the name on everybody’s lips at the moment and no wonder, he is simply terrific. Blessed with speed, skill and an eye for goal, Sanchez’ play is reminiscent of that of Cristiano Ronaldo; placed in a top class team, I could see him replicating Ronny’s magic in the Premier League.
Competition for his signature is fierce, but if City have real aspirations of claiming Premier League or even Champions League glory, then signing him is an absolute must. All the top teams in Europe have players capable of opening up a game through a moment of individual brilliance, there is Messi at Barca, Ronaldo at Real, Rooney at United… the list goes on. Sanchez could do that for City, he is strong, fast and agile, and would be able to mix it in the rough and tumble world of Premier League football.
Earlier today, a representative of Udinese came out to announce that City are once again in pole position to sign Sanchez, news that will come as a huge blow to the Citizens’ Premier League rivals. If City were to claim Sanchez, then not only would it be beneficial to the team, but it would serve as a clear signal of intent to others around the league, many of whom are chasing Sanchez themselves. Imagine the uproar at Old Trafford, if Fergie were to find out that the noisy neighbors had beaten him to one of the men he saw capable of filling the creative void at United. And just imagine the disappointment at Stamford Bridge, if Andre Villas Boas were to see his first major transfer venture halted by Roberto Mancini.
In Europe too, City would cause quite a fracas. Barcelona seemed dead certain to grab Sanchez’ signature, but they too would find themselves steamrollered by the money bags in Manchester. Next year’s Champions League could be made very interesting indeed if City were to pull off this coup, Sanchez is the type of player capable of unseating the Barcelona monopoly, I think we would all find it refreshing to see the insufferably classy Catalans beaten by a man who had turned them down.
But all that is simply hypothesis, the truth is that Sanchez has not yet signed for City, but wow, if he did it would really put the cat amongst the pigeons…
Editor’s note: Read more by David Yaffe-Bellany @ In For The Hat Trick.