Manchester City have just got to accept that the horse has bolted

Football FanCast columnist Rob Facey wonders whether Man City will ever pay a normal transfer fee again or
will they suffer as a result of their new found wealth?

Mark Hughes
insisted that Manchester City will not be taken for a ride in January, stating
that they will not pay over the odds for any player.

City, who
now find themselves the richest club in the world, are expected to splash the
cash when the transfer window reopens in order to save their faltering season.

But Hughes
was defiant in claiming that the Abu Dhabi Group know what they are doing and
will not be held to ransom.

"There may be the danger that prices go up
because it is Manchester City that are interested, but I think people will
understand we will not get ripped off,"
Hughes said, as
reported in The Times.

"The owner and the chairman are very astute
businessmen. They know the value of a good deal, so they are not going to be
taken for a ride.

"They understand the value of players and what
it will take to make a deal happen and that needs to be remembered when dealing
with them."

But does the
chairman, Khaldoon al-Mubarak, really expect a fair deal come January?

His
ludicrous claims that he will sign Ronaldo, Gerrard and Fabregas amongst others
as a welcome to the English game never really gave the impression he understood
how the market works.

The mid
season transfer window is a notoriously awkward time to sign players anyway,
especially when players move from one big club to another, due to the fact many
will be cup tied in European competitions and suchlike, so who are City going
to be focusing on?

Roque Santa
Cruz is the name that is always mentioned, but how much will Paul Ince tell the
Blackburn board the striker is worth?

Everyone has
seen Chelsea pay over the odds in recent years because clubs know that once the
management and ownership team have a player in their sights, they will not let
him slip through the net for the sake of a few millions?

It is of
little significance to City's owners really, but would fans rather see upwards
of £15m, which Santa Cruz will surely cost, be put to better use elsewhere?

City have,
after all, been shipping goals recently; should a defender be on the shopping
list?

Or, bearing
in mind previous statements, are the Abu Dhabi Group simply going for goals,
goals and more goals, in order to lure players from Europe's elite?