Roberto Mancini’s recent announcement that he will be seeking five new faces to complement his Manchester City squad may have come as little shock to distant onlookers now accustomed to the Premier League champions’ big spending reputation, but the extent of Italian’s recruitment drive is still surprising given the strength in depth at Etihad Stadium.
With so many talented players to choose from and a wealth of experience and skill at his finger tips, such drastic changes may seem difficult to accommodate but the need for constant improvement means the former Inter Milan boss must find new ways to develop his team in order to continue their rapid rise to prominence. While his side may have found their place at the top of English football, their squad is still bloated with overpaid fringe players eating away at the wage budget and the need to streamline their finances into a sustainable business model, while becoming powerhouses at European level, means their transfer activity is far from over.
To suit FIFA’s new Financial Fair Play regulations City must spend within their means and that leaves reducing their outlay as the only viable option if they are to continue attracting the world’s top stars. Enticing players like Robin van Persie to the blue half of Manchester is integral to their development but impending restrictions means they cannot afford to keep players like Kolo Toure and Roque Santa Cruz in reserve if they are to afford continuous improvements. The club has already made strides to solve this problem by loaning out some their unwanted squad players and allowing the likes of Emmanuel Adebayor, Wayne Bridge and, before them, Craig Bellamy to play elsewhere was a step in the right direction. Still, they have often had to subsidise part of the wage packets delivered by prospective buyers and as such have struggled to find a financial balance. Not only have they had to spend more than necessary but expensive failures like Adebayor and Bridge often end up returning because their wages are too excessive for the club that loaned them and a permanent deal is impossible.
It means the best way for the club to move forward is to permanently offload their squad members and while this may be difficult given the majority their unneeded employees are overpaid, the end is nigh as most have now been moved on and the squad is looking more and more streamlined. If Mancini can do to Toure and Santa Cruz what he did to Bellamy and potentially Adebayor, then he will free up some room in his transfer war chest and can pursue his main targets without fear of reprisal from the bank manager. With billionaire owners in charge such concerns may seem unnecessary, but City must get used to sensible spending and cannot afford to keep excess baggage in today’s economic climate.
If such standards can be achieved then it’s essential that City start their transfer activity as soon as possible, otherwise they may lose out on their main targets. They can certainly attract top quality but if they delay for too long targets like Van Persie may be swayed by Italian giants or their bitter Manchester rivals. Despite the likelihood of City missing out on one player over financial concerns, the principle still remains as Mancini seeks for his reported five new signings. If said players are to be brought in then they will be of immediate quality and capable of improving the first team, so will cost a lot and be coveted by other top sides. In order to compete, City must be able to snare these players’ signatures while offloading their unused reserves and with the new season only three weeks away, they must step up their transfer activity if they are to get their business done in time for the opening day visit of Southampton. While a winnable home game against a newly promoted side doesn’t offer the greatest incentive to speed up recruitment, it’s still important to have the majority of business deals finished before the beginning of the league campaign. Not only are players eager to find new homes and could be snatched by a more organised rival, but they also take time to settle in, so the quicker new signings are brought in the better.
For a manager whose stock is especially high at the moment, Mancini’s responsibilities are just getting started as he seeks to repeat last season’s heroics and also improve on them. With increased expectation on his shoulders, City’s manager must get stuck in to his transfer dealings to keep his reputation improving along with his title winning side.
Should Mancini speed up his transfer activity? Do Manchester City need 5 new players this summer?
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