As the winter transfer window nears, the Blues have laughed off the supposed threat of Man City claiming they are in fact the top dogs and Man City are too small to compete with them. It appears that Chelsea are not intimidated by the unlimited funds Mark Hughes has at his disposal as their new chief exec, Ron Gourlay mockingly asked, “Manchester City, a threat?”
Gourlay did acknowledge the that City’s players do posses the talent to break into the top 5 but questioned if they were commercially strong enough to compete with the West London outfit, “With the players they have, they’re certainly going to try to push their way into the top five. Commercially, it’s not that easy. They’re very much a Manchester-centric club. To break into the big world and start developing your business in Asia and in the US, you need to really start winning some trophies, and not just one Premier League.”
City have looked good so far this season, with victories in their first four games including a 4-2 win over Arsenal and although they lost their next game to city rivals Manchester United, the result does not reflect the fact that they deserved at least a point from the game being thwarted by a last minute Michael Owen goal. They got back on track with a 3-1 win over West Ham but have recently fall off the pace with 4 draws in a row that leaves them with a respectable 19 points but more importantly in 4th place ahead of the struggling Liverpool with a game in hand.
With their performances against the likes of Arsenal and Manchester United, City have already solidified their credentials as title contenders in the league and despite being shunned by the likes of Kaka, Eto’o, Buffon and Ronaldinho, City can also compete in the transfer market too having already beaten Chelsea to the signing of Robinho, something which must still be a sore point for Chelsea who were already advertising the arrival of the Brazilian at Stamford Bridge on their website and selling Robinho shirts in their online megastore!
Gourlay makes a good point; it will take on field success for City to really shake top 4 from their perch. But Gourlay must be worried about the threat City poses especially with the African Cup Nations in January.
Chelsea risk being without the influential Didier Drogba and Michael Essien, as well as Jon Obi Mikel and Solomon Kalou and although City too will lose Emmanuel Adebayor and Kolo Toure , who will Carlo Ancelotti be able to bring that can replace their missing African quartet?
Chelsea have just had their transfer embargo lifted despite being found guilty by FIFA of inducing Gael Kakuta to breach his contract with French outfit Lens but the winter window poses the problem of Champions League elegibilty, which tends to put managers off of dipping into the market whereas City can spend freely as they are not in Europe.
So maybe by the time Drogba and co return from Angola, the already slight gap between Chelsea and City could be enough to make Gourlay properly take notice of the blue menace from the north.