Manchester City owner Sheikh Mansour is set to invest up to £150 million to achieve the dream of a Premier League title, but is current boss Roberto Mancini the right man to be in charge of such funds? Can the Citizens be the force that the Sheikh is hoping for?
The club spent around £120 million on new players last summer but could not even manage a top four place, let alone mount a title challenge and after failing to qualify for the Champions League they may find it difficult to attract top quality talent.
Oliver Kay of the Times spoke ungraciously of City when he said that they could only attract the “lower class of mercenary” without Champions League football, so it is doubtful the likes of Fernando Torres, David Villa, Angel Di Maria and Joe Cole would be willing to move to City and effectively write off a year of their career not playing in UEFA’s most prestigious tournament.
Furthermore I am unsure if Roberto Mancini is the man to convince the world’s best players to join the club. The scarf-wearing Italian had been rumoured to have lost the dressing room at his previous post at Inter Milan and if you believe what you read in the press he has not taken to the hearts of all those who are in the Sky Blues’ dressing room either. Craig Bellamy looks set to leave the club as he seems disillusioned with life under Mancini and allegedly made comments backing Everton manager David Moyes following the pair’s touchline bust-up. Also, star man Carlos Tevez has publically spoken out against the manager’s training regime.
The Manchester City boss also unwisely made a public criticism about marginalised midfielder Stephen Ireland when he said the Irishman needs to ‘change his head’ if he is to resurrect his career at Eastlands. That may have been true, but surely any criticism of the former Republic of Ireland international should be between manager and player, not the press.
However, Mancini only narrowly missed out on his objective on achieving Champions League football and many of City’s problems are not his fault. Robinho and Emmanuel Adebayor embody everything that is wrong with the Eastlands club, both are undeniably talented but waste it as they are mercenaries, have underperformed (the former was shipped out on loan) and both have gone missing for the club.
The Italian manager has improved the club since his arrival and has done the right thing in trying to instil discipline into the side. The club have also performed better against the bigger sides after doing the double over Chelsea, earning four points against Arsenal and arguably a little unfortunate to fall victim to last minute goals in the two fixtures against bitter rivals Manchester United.
Mancini spoke of the club’s improved big game mentality:
“We were very strong against all of them this season. It shows we have a good mentality – and this is important.”
In terms of the Italian’s transfers made a shrewd signing in Adam Johnson, who I believe is a very good player, well worth the £7m they paid for him and has fully earned his place in Fabio Capello’s provisional England squad for the World Cup in South Africa. He also made a loan signing of Patrick Viera, but he did not quite have the impact he would have hoped for.
If the Man City chief can put the money to good use and make smart purchases like Johnson there is no reason the club cannot seek to improve as they already have top performers like Tevez, Johnson, Nigel de Jong, Vincent Kompany and Shay Given, who have all enjoyed a good season. Instead of wasting their time with the likes of John Terry, Steven Gerrard, David Villa and Kaka they should focus on bringing in more realistic targets such as Merek Hamsik, Eden Hazard and Jerome Boateng (who they are reportedly bidding £11m for).
With their wealth it is surely just a matter of time before the Eastlands outfit qualify for the UEFA Champions League and mount a Premier League challenge. In my opinion it is not a question of if Sheikh Mansour will get what he wants, but when will he get it.
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