The message from the ownership of Manchester City has reverberated loud and clear in recent weeks, second best simply will not do. The modern era of the Premier League has seen a far more ruthless approach from all football clubs as managers are judged purely on results. The Blues chairman Khaldoon al-Mubarak has insisted that his side must win all the competitions they enter as they prepare for another wave of spending when they appoint their new manager within the next few weeks. Is a large transfer kitty really enough to ensure success? or has the focus on the money spent meant that ensuring the club’s mission to become the world’s best is always destined to fail?
The Man City official club website emblazoned the message of the chairman stating “The target now is to win every competition that we play in. It is a high ambition, but we have the organisation and the squad to get us there”. It was made abundantly clear to Roberto Mancini that he had the funds there to improve his squad at the end of last campaign and because he had this resource available he was expected to succeed. The signings of Aguero, Silva and Yaya Toure who had already proven their world class pedigree was enough to convince Al Mubarak and co that Man City should have been competing with the elite clubs. The prize assets all remained at The Etihad, so there was no reason why there should have been a decrease in form, in theory.
It was clear at the beginning of last season Manchester City had a squad of individual players that were capable of winning back to back titles, but no cohesion is guaranteed in a side. There may be players who are superstars on their own but Manchester United proved that determination and team spirit are critical in securing the Premier League’s top prize. The margins within the two sides were narrow going into what proved to be both Manchester managers final seasons. Robin Van Persie has since been pointed to as the difference between winning and losing the title. He picked the red half of Manchester because of the chance to work with one of the finest managers the game has even seen and a football club which has always prided itself on stability. The stellar players that are the only ones which can truly improve this current Manchester City team this summer could now shun the Citizens for similar reasons Van Persie did last summer.
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The insistence that what Mancini delivered was not good enough, may be all well and good, but sacking a manager on the exact day he won them their first title in 40 years that delivered the supporters the prize they craved the most is hardly suggesting the commitment to building a long term legacy is it? What will world class players believe they are signing into when they scribble across the dotted line at Eastlands? It hardly will fill the new manager, which is widely expected to be Manuel Pellegrini, with any confidence that he will have any opportunity to stick around and win trophies spanning across many years like Sir Alex Ferguson did at Manchester United. The Man City board have set an extremely dangerous precedent in so much as, if Pellegrini delivers the Premier League this year but then failed to again the following year, would he immediately have to be sacked then too?
Al Mubarak finished his most recent statement by saying “ we all felt it was time for a change”, but it has led many to wonder whether this is the first transition of many. In the chase for perfection on all fronts, there could be a losing of what the long terms aim were in the first place.