Gawthaman Gobinath feels that it is wrong for Manchester City to be criticised for their summer spending and welcomes the added competition to the Premier League.
The big story of the summer has been Manchester City; a team that finished 10th the previous season has dominated the back pages as they seek to gatecrash the so called ‘Big Four' with net spending of close to €120 million in the summer transfer window. It is a source of consternation to many fans that a club is seeking to ‘buy' success in this manner; even Sepp Blatter voiced his concerns last January as City tried to tempt Kaka to Eastlands with their riches; but are they right to be annoyed?
It should first be noted that money is no guarantee of success, whilst the likes of Chelsea, Blackburn and Lazio became champions after large spending sprees; the Uniteds of Leeds and Newcastle continue to count the cost of their ambition. Money alone has never been enough. Although it is true that money provides no assurances of success, it may also be correct to say that success without serious expenditure is no longer possible in the modern game. A quick look at the Manchester United team that has won three league titles in a row confirms this; their list of big money transfers include Rooney, Berbatov, Carrick, Hargreaves, Anderson and Nani. The other clubs seeking to qualify for the Champions League have also spent big; Tottenham's player turnover in recent months has been staggering, while Aston Villa spent close to €50 million during the 2008/9 season.
So, what's the problem with Manchester City? Is it the sheer scale of the spending? Is it the fact that it has been done in shorter amount of time than normal? These are not convincing reasons to vilify the Sky Blues; if it is acceptable for clubs to spend vast amounts in order to maintain success as Manchester United and Barcelona have done, it is no less acceptable for a club to spend vast amounts in order to achieve that success.
As to the question of whether City can challenge for top honours this season; it is my opinion that they are certainly capable of doing so. They have started strongly and are yet to truly benefit from the assorted talents of Santa Cruz, Robinho and Kompany. Going forward, there is a surprising fluidity about their play considering the number of new faces in the side. Mark Hughes has bought very well and his ability to get the best out of the talented but prickly Craig Bellamy has played a significant role in their strong start. City's back line is the clear weakness, with Lescott and Toure playing as if they are strangers (probably because that is exactly what they are to each other), but defensively City are no worse than Arsenal or Liverpool who are both considered genuine contenders.
City may not win the league this season, but they are real contenders. This will dismay their critics, but I wish them the best of luck. They have only served to make the league more competitive and therefore more enjoyable to follow.
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