Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Will Man City EVER really be bigger than United?...

It isn't just Manchester City fans who are in a total state of shock relating to the amazing events over at Eastlands (or should that be Middle Eastlands?). Chelsea, and in particular Peter Kenyon will be totally gutted after losing out in the battle to sign Robinho, few saw that particular deal coming on what turned out to be a truly remarkable final day of the summer transfer window.

City fans that I spoke to could not believe the news when it emerged that of all clubs they had been taken over by the mega rich Abu Dhabi United Group, who we are told own 65% of Ferrari - the Arabs have their fingers in many pies.

Coming on the back of the Robinho transfer plus combined reported bids of over £300m on transfer deadline day, morning reports claim that City will try to sign Liverpool's Fernando Torres and Ronaldo, the theory goes that the Arabs will think nothing of offering a mind boggling £120m for the 'world's best player'....could any club turn down that sort of money? The answer to that question will be answered when the window opens in January with the bigger deals being done next summer.

So why exactly did the Arabs takeover City, given they've never really been considered to be a big club? The answer is quite simple. It was a case of perfect timing. The Blues were not the Arabs first choice - which has been confirmed - they wanted to buy Arsenal, but that deal was deemed too complicated. Liverpool and United are owned by Americans and of course Chelsea by a Russian.

City, prior to the last couple of days were owned by the fugitive that is Thaksin Shinawatra who is on the run and faces extradition to his native Thailand. According to reports, Shinawatra didn't expect to be in the tight spot in which he finds himself and perhaps it is therefore only because his assets have been frozen that the Arabs were invited to takeover. Word has it that City's former Chairman had to lend Shinawatra money to pay the players wages at the back of the season - there was even talk of administration.

At the weekend reports suggested that the Arabs could be about to buy a minority stake in the Blues which was thought to be worth around £80m. Few apart from those at the very centre of the deal which led City being taken over were aware of this impending move.

Whatever the reasoning which led to the events of the last 24 hours the football world has been shaken to its core; many observers of the game are saying that what happened yesterday is only the start. The Arabs are talking about winning domestic and European trophies. City supporters are rightly saying that if Chelsea can do it, anyone can do it with the right backing.

However, when Peter Kenyon stated his intention to make Chelsea the biggest club in the world and bigger than United, he was rightly laughed at. You cannot reinvent yourself overnight, City despite the Arabs wealth do not have a long and distinguished history. Tim Vickery, the BBCs expert on South American football says that the word coming out of Brazil is that no one had even heard of City until Elano signed for them - until then Brazilians referred to United as "Manchester".

On the future transfer battles that lie ahead, United struggle to attract the world's finest talent, reason being, it isn't just about money. As we have heard from Berbatov, he wants to win trophies, he could have signed for City but he did not.

United have pretty much always had pots of money spend, but management is another huge factor - it took United 26 years to win back the league title, it wasn't until Fergie arrived that we laid that ghost to rest. How many managers will City go through before they win some silverware because you do wonder if Hughes will be viewed as the right man, again though it might turn out to be perfect timing for the Welshman, given that he too wasn’t thought to be City’s first choice.

There is also the bright lights of London which will sadly always attract players from the continent over rainy Manchester, which is one of Ronaldo's biggest gripes. If it wasn't for the clumsy way in which Chelsea conducted themselves in their pursuit of Robinho they might have won that battle, but somewhat surprisingly it is being reported that the West London club would not match Real's valuation.

Ramon Calderon made a snidey parting comment on Robinho's move to City suggesting that the Brazilian hasn't moved for "sport reasons" - clearly this man isn't bothered who upsets, given he had just agreed a deal which broke the British transfer record. Calderon is no diplomat, but no matter what the likes of the Real President says or thinks, money talks and what happened yesterday was a statement of intent.

While City fans are still coming to terms with the news of the last 24 hours, supporters of other clubs will be rightly concerned about the likely ramifications.

For those who wanted to see the big four being broken up, this takeover is great news - whether it happens this season or next isn't the point, it will happen eventually and the way things are going it's likely that Liverpool and or Arsenal will fall by the wayside.

However, in financial terms all of the existing top four including United will struggle to compete, especially if what we are hearing about the Arabs’ sanctioning £120m fees is true. Only Abramovich could compete with that kind of money, but event that is unlikely.

City fans might have to get used to the idea that their club is likely to fast become the most despised club in the land, but will they care? I doubt it. What happened yesterday has potentially changed football forever; at least it has until the Arabs grow tired of playing with their new found toy and then pack up their tent and move on to their next project.


  1. I personally dont think city is going to be of much threat to the big 4 this season unless they make some more huge signings in the winter.. but next season its got to be much dificult for the big 4 to dominate...esp Arsenal and Liverpool

  2. City, bigger than United? C'mon you gotta be kiddin me mon..

    I dont expect them to go higher than 7th this season.. 5th for Villa and 6th for Pompey.. City dont have a defence to match any of the big 4.. Or Villa for that matter.. Or Pompey..


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