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Manchester City Change Transfer Tactics to Build for the Future

Photo by ivan03

Perhaps this summer, more than any other, is the one where Manchester City comes good. After pipping Arsenal for automatic Champions League qualification last season, City are not in need of a major overhaul; some steady summer planning would do just fine.

For fans expecting to see the Citizens splash large amounts of money on star quality from around the continent, Roberto Mancini’s actions thus far might have come as a little of a disappointment. Instead of bidding tens of millions on luxury players, City’s transfer activity so far this summer has been circumspect and carefully planned.

Already, the club has signed two players of the type needed to succeed; a young Montenegrin defender, and a left back with Champions League experience to his name. While Stefan Savic and Gael Clichy are not footballers who provide many column inches to the transfer obsessed reporter, they are two players who are likely to add solidity to what already is a very strong squad.

It would have been very easy for City to not follow up on interest in low cost players like Clichy and Savic, and instead register thirty million pound bids for the likes of Maicon, Dani Alves and Fabio Coentrao. Such activity would not have been atypical of the City that fans have come to know over the last few seasons. In the past the club have been more interested in making headlines than building a successful team.

City are strengthening in areas that need to be strengthened. Last year full backs like Aleksander Kolarov and Jerome Boateng were unimpressive, so moves for a youngster and a Premier League veteran to occupy those positions is logical business. In years gone by, City would not have been interested in a player like Savic, a defender who commands no real reputation, and who is unknown to all but the most attentive followers of the game in Europe. However, the City of 2011 is a different, a more mature proposition, a team ready to build for the future as opposed to milking the present.

After sealing the signings of Savic and Clichy this week, the next order of business will be to settle the Carlos Tevez situation; first by finding a suitable club to sell to, and second by arranging for a replacement. So far, all the signs have been good, City have made it clear that they are in no rush to sell the striker and are ready to wait for the right bid to come in.

On the evidence of their intelligent work so far this summer, City will not be tricked into selling to one of their English rivals. If Tevez were to move to Chelsea then the transfer would represent the footballing equivalent of suicide.

However, assuming that Tevez’s desire really is to leave England, then that is a problem that City will not have to face, a whole can of worms that will not have to be opened. City’s major occupation for the rest of the summer is likely to be the search for Tevez’s replacement, a quest that must be completed promptly, but with all due consideration as well.

It will be interesting to see in which direction Roberto Mancini takes his search. As we all know, City have the funds to finance a move for one of Europe’s hottest properties, but their activity thus far indicates that they may be willing to move for a younger, less high profile target. While players like Sergio Aguero, Edinson Cavani and Gonzalo Higuain will all be linked, it could be someone starring at one of Europe’s peripheral teams who gets the nod. After all, City already have star power up top in Edin Dzeko and Mario Balotelli.

There is no doubt that between now and the end of the summer City will add to the two players that they signed this week, but their future splurges are more likely to be about quality rather than quantity, signing that one promising youngster as opposed to a whole starting XI of overrated, high earning stars.

Read more by David Yaffe-Bellany at In For The Hat Trick and follow him on Twitter @INFTH

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  1. lewismanc

    July 10, 2011 at 5:05 pm

    james ur an idiot open ur eyes …… thats all i need to say

  2. James

    July 9, 2011 at 2:14 pm

    I say: it’s about time! How much money did they need to spend on players anyway? Hopefully they’ll stop splashing cash around so much, because IMO it’s bad for the EPL in general.

  3. MUFC77

    July 9, 2011 at 2:04 pm

    City’s at the point were they dont need to spend huge amounts of money on transfer targets, id imagine its more about quality over quantity from here on in. They have champions league football this year so they dont need to go and overpay for players in transfers fees and ridiculous wages to make up for not playing in europe.

    I do however see it as vital for them to consistently qualify for the champions league over the next 3-4 season and not end up like spurs being in it one year and out the next. Once they have established they can consistently make it each year it will easier to attract the players they need/want.

  4. bogicevic

    July 9, 2011 at 8:12 am

    City should go “low-key” again by getting Odemwingie from West Brom. He would be relatively cheap AND he has already shown himself to be a better Premier League goal scorer than either of the so-called stars, Dzeko and Balotelli.

    • bluemoon70

      July 9, 2011 at 8:41 am

      Firstly, City is not necessarily looking for cheap. Odemwingie had a breakout year, yes. But he’s 29. The aim of City is to get a core group of players together who will reach their peaks around the same time.

      Joe Hart 24
      David Silva 25
      Vincent Company 25
      Edin Dzeko 25
      Mario Balotelli 20
      Nigel DeJong 26
      Micah Richards 23
      James Milner 25
      Adam Johnson 23
      Jerome Boateng 22
      Aleksander Kolorov 25
      Gael Clichy 25

      Some of these players will be sold perhaps but if buy a young player and he doesn’t perform well, when you sell him, he is still valuable.

      If City were to get Odemwingie now, we’d have to pay him based off last season which is really an outlier to his career. If he doesn’t perform well, now he’s 30 and we’d take a big loss to sell him.

      Young players are cheaper, have upside, and greater re-sell value. Liverpool is doing the same thing right now with their new ownership group. The Chelsea, Real Madrid way of buying top players at their peak is not working out that well anymore. And with Financial Fair Play rules coming, it’s going to be even harder to operate that way .

      • nick

        July 9, 2011 at 8:46 am

        Since Mourinho has taken over at Real Madrid the teams Average age is now 23. He is signing young talent at ages of 19, 20 and 21.

      • bogicevic

        July 9, 2011 at 8:58 am

        Excellent points. My ignorance of Odemwingie’s age aside (and many other things Premier League related), he just struck me as the kind of guy who pops up and actually scores goals.

        What role do you for Milner? He fits the profile, but does he fit the manager?

        • bluemoon70

          July 9, 2011 at 9:15 am

          Milner is a very good player. He is definitely a Mancini type player, hard worker, tough. But do you think he’d start every game on Man U or Chelsea? I don’t. He’d be an important player but not a star. If he wants to play ever game as a starter than maybe he should go back to Villa. But if he wants to win trophies, which is why I thought he came to City, then he should accept his role.

          I do think he’ll play more in the future as the aging Gareth Barry is fazed out, but he needs to be a team player and be ready when called on.

  5. bluemoon70

    July 9, 2011 at 8:00 am

    Here are City’s place in the EPL table since the Abu Dhabi group took over in August 2008 :

    2008-09: 10th
    2009-10: 5th
    2010-11: 3rd

    The general perception is that City has been stumbling around in the dark up until this past May when they won the FA Cup and secured Champions League entry.

    The fact is City has been progressing for quite some time now. Were there some signings that seemed desperate at the time? Yes. But they served a purpose. There would have been no Carlos Tevez without Robinho. Without Adebayor, perhaps no Yaya Toure. You really think Yaya was going to leave Barcelona to play with Shaun Wright-Phillips?

    Now with stars in fold and Champions League entry secured, it’s time to solidify weaknesses on the team. This was the plan all along and it’s worked out superbly.

    • central harlemite

      July 9, 2011 at 11:12 am

      I agree, some people dont like the fact that city have been progressing and the owners have the money to do it, but i dont see the problem. if you own a team and you have the money to really buy and trade without debt coming in then you should be able to.
      ManC are here to stay. I wish Tevez hadnt milked the eto’o trade. HE wants a southern climate, make the swap for Eto’o and go to Milan. I think he wants to go to spain but then wants to definitely be transferred, he wants a lot and I am a tevez fan.
      ManCity have done what teams like shalke havent , managed their place.

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