Mancini must get real with financial reality
You get the impression that Roberto Mancini isn’t a particularly happy man up at Eastlands at the moments. After a summer in which his Premier League rivals have invested well in their squad, making some astute summer signings, Manchester City have had a relatively dormant window, bar the acquisition of Jack Rodwell.
Some have said that Mancini is less than happy about a perceived lack of activity at Manchester City last week. Indeed, it was even reported in some quarters that Mancini would be unlikely to see out the remainder of his recently signed contract, if he was likely to be kept ‘high and dry in the transfer market’, as the Daily Mail put it a few days ago.
Indeed, a source claimed to the paper:
“We will see what happens in the next few days.
“He feels there is no one at the club doing the transfer dealing for him and he has been left with just 19 players for the new season.
“He is angry, as you can imagine.”
Now while you can spend a lifetime casting some serious doubt over the validity of that source, probably to the point of ridicule, you do get the impression that Mancini is cutting a frustrated figure at the moment.
All at City have watched as United, a team that they only beat on goal difference last season, have made some seriously eye-catching moves in the transfer market this summer. The signing of Robin van Persie for £24million was a real signal of intent and snapping up the gifted Shinji Kagawa from Borussia Dortmund, already looks like a masterstroke. Throw in the highly rated Nick Powell, Alexander Buttner and Angelo Henriquez and the Old Trafford club certainly haven’t been shy in backing Fergie in his attempts to snap the title back from the noisy neighbours.
They say money can’t buy you happiness, but you would have thought Mancini might be a little less miserable after the outlays of the previous few seasons. It seems difficult to buy into this notion that the club hasn’t backed the Italian after spending near on £220million on acquiring players in the past few years. Every manager has frustrations in the transfer window and there’s no doubt that Mancini must have his. Although the fact that he only craves a couple of players to tweak the team, is testament to the backing he’s received since he’s been at the club.
However, Manchester City can’t stand still if they want to retain the Premier League title. They might not need to make any wholesale changes to the team, but Mancini isn’t wrong in his desire to bring a couple of more faces in. The likes of Daniele de Rossi, Edison Cavani and Stevan Jovetic have been on the manager’s hit list. You imagine his face was a picture when Brian Marwood purchased him Richard Wright as cover for Joe Hart, then.
But putting the tongue back in cheek, Mancini shouldn’t be lampooned for craving some fresh faces. The battle lines for next season are set to be drawn over several fronts as the club look to make inroads into European competition. Defending the league title while chasing Champions League glory is something of an art and it’s one that requires a strong and versatile squad if they’re to have a real crack at both competitions.
Although perhaps the nature and profile of some of Mancini’s targets are perhaps out of balance with the reasoning for investment in the first place. There is always room for improvement, but Manchester City’s first choice teams are a pretty frightening prospect as it is. A spruce up of the squad doesn’t perhaps necessitate investing £30million plus on the likes of Daniele de Rossi. The Italian is a really quite wonderful footballer and as league champions, why shouldn’t they go out and try and buy the best, to stay the best?
The answer to that may perhaps lie in the realities of Financial Fair Play. City have the money of course, but the club have to start acting more prudent in the transfer market. Many will point to another summer of investment at Stamford Bridge as evidence that the club need to keep spending. But Chelsea had/have far more work to do to their squad than Mancini’s. The club has to worry about their own priorities.
An inflating wage bill is perhaps just as much of a pressing issue as the astronomical transfer fees paid for the players in the first place. For example, if Mancini wants another striker, he has to part with one of his four. That in all likeliness would look to be Edin Dzeko. But you can’t have Dzeko, Tevez, Aguero and Balotelli all existing on massive wages and bring in a fifth. You can’t have your cake and eat it.
We’ve already seen with Emmanuel Adebayor’s departure, the massive sacrifices that have already been made to lower the wage bill. The fact the club is still having to play a player that has left the club as an act of damage limitation, suggests this culture of sustainability is no joke at Eastlands. How they get rid of Roque Santa Cruz, however, remains to be seen.
Mancini craves a more direct outlet of pace and a signing in the mould of Scott Sinclair represents the perfect bit of business for City. For his age and ability, he would represent a cheaper option on both wages and transfer fees than a more luxurious European counterpart. We will have to wait and see whether the ex-Chelsea youngster can cut it at a higher level, but he certainly has all the tools too. He’d be a good, sensible signing to boost the squad.
Unfortunately, City aren’t very likely to be able to pick players up on the cheap anymore. Clubs know they have the money, even if they can’t necessarily spend it and clubs like Swansea are well within their right to charge as much as they can for Sinclair. It’s unlikely, but if he becomes more expensive than Adam Johnson, then maybe the logic of such a deal decreases.
It is likely that we will see a smattering of late transfer activity from Manchester City but any claims that the manager isn’t being backed must ring hollow. The team doesn’t need a radical overhaul and the nature of signings he wishes to make demand sensibility- in both a financial sense and a footballing one. It’s not easy seeing your closest rivals indulge big money in one of the finest strikers in the land, but it’s not like Mancini has a bad set of frontmen himself.
City need another option or two and perhaps a bit more defensive cover. That doesn’t demand, £30million worth plus, of investment. In an ideal world, Mancini would be correct. But fiscal demands play a part at every club and Manchester City aren’t any different.
Is Mancini living in a fantasy world with his transfer demands or is the Italian right to demand more financial backing from the owners? Let me know what you think on Twitter: follow @samuel_antrobus