City’s domestic dilemma

Manchester City’s defence of their second Premier League title in three years is hampered by two great lengths of red tape – the dubious Financial Fair Play regulations and the eminently more laudable ruling on ‘home-grown’ players.

The hypocrisy, corrupt practices and self serving sentiments of FFP have been well documented, as has the fact that if City are to comply with their FFP punishment, their net transfer spending is limited to £49m this summer.

Strong leadership - Chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak is guiding City through the challenges of FFP. Courtesy @MCFC

Strong leadership – Chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak is guiding City through the challenges of FFP. Courtesy @MCFC

Previous statements from City Chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak, suggested that the UEFA imposed transfer budget ceiling was broadly in line with City’s plans…so no real problem.

The pending announcement concerning the acquisition of Eliaquim Mangala at a reported £31.8m will just about empty the UEFA sanctioned money pot. The earlier arrivals of Fernando (£12m) Willy Caballero (£4.4m) Bruno Zucilini (£1.5m) and Bacary Sagna on a free, mean City’s available credit is approximately £300,000 – whoopee do…that’ll go a long way, but only if your name’s Accrington Stanley.

Hart-beater? - New keeper Willy Caballero is here to challenge Joe for the No 1 slot. Courtesy @MCFC

Hart-beater? – New keeper Willy Caballero is here to challenge Joe for the No 1 slot. Courtesy @MCFC

The five new additions to the Etihad are all meritorious to varying degrees, but they all have one glaring drawback – not one of them can lay claim to any English ancestry or, slightly more likely, three seasons being trained between the age of 15-21 years, by a club or clubs in England.

It leaves City with too many players from overseas and not enough meeting the criteria of eight home-grown for the Premier League and, for next season only, five for the Champions League (the number reduced from eight in line with City’s squad reduction from 25 to 21 players as part of their FFP punishment).

Defender of defenders - FernaNdo will present a formidable figure in front of City's backline. COURTESY @MCFC

Defender of defenders – Fernando will present a formidable figure in front of City’s backline. Courtesy @MCFC

As things stand at least one foreign player will be excluded from Premier League duties in 2014/15 and two from Champions League participation, the question is who, and do they leave City on permanent or loan deals?

Either way, it necessitates raising further transfer funds, money that City are able to spend provided their outgoings don’t exceed incoming fees. If the idea is to ‘kill two birds with one stone’ it would appear that City need to buy players who fit the home-grown criteria.

City’s present crop, to be brutally honest, contains only a trio of players who can justify inclusion in a 25-man squad, namely Joe Hart, James Milner and Gael Clichy.

On the bench - but who stays and who goes before the transfer deadline? Courtesy @MCFC

On the bench – but who stays and who goes before the transfer deadline? Courtesy @MCFC

Dedryck Boyata can consider himself very fortunate to have a new two year contract and the same goes for veteran third choice keeper Richard Wright, on a 12-month deal. The two are effectively ‘passengers’ and wouldn’t be at City were it not for UEFA requirements.

Those who remain could easily find themselves as transfer pawns as City seek to build up a credible transfer pot. England internationals Micah Richards and Jack Rodwell, former England U-21 winger Scott Sinclair and Swedish international striker John Guidetti seem destined to go.

Jack's back...but for how long - will Rodwell be going back to Goodison? Courtesy @MCFC

Jack’s back…but for how long – will Rodwell be going back to Goodison? Courtesy @MCFC

The departures of out of contract Gareth Barry and Joleon Lescott means City are well shy of the quota. The conundrum is further complicated by what represents good value for money in the grossly inflated English transfer market.

Put into perspective, German World Cup winner and Bayern Munich regular Toni Kroos (24), is joining Real Madrid from the Bundesliga champions for £20m. England international Adam Lallana (26) has gone from Southampton to Liverpool for £25m. Lallana is a very good PL player, but it’s a farce when Kroos, at two years younger, and having won almost every honour in the game costs £5m less.

Going going Guidetti? - Will the young Swedish striker be leaving the Etihad this summer? Courtesy @MCFC

Going going Guidetti? – Will the young Swedish striker be leaving the Etihad this summer? Courtesy @MCFC

If City are to invest in talent that could genuinely improve the quality of the squad – not just fringe players – it’s going to cost and cost BIG TIME. Such moves can only be financed by the sales of household names, players who, ideally would be staying at the Etihad.

Will Yaya Toure, an iconic talisman who has been integral in all City’s recent success, be throwing his toys out the pram when he is finally called to account for all the shenanigans cooked up by himself and his abhorrent ‘agent’, the disgraceful Dmitri ‘slimeball’ Seluk – the man who put the yuk into Ukrainian?

Stick or twist - What's been going on with Yaya this summer? A question City fans would love to have answered. Courtesy @MCFC

Stick or twist – What’s been going on with Yaya this summer? A question City fans would love to have answered. Courtesy @MCFC

Placing sympathy and empathy aside following the tragic passing of his younger brother, Ibrahim, Yaya has been a right pain in the rear from the moment he turned 31 years of age.

Does he want out? If so, who is prepared to buy him at what would not, or certainly should not, be a bargain price? Are City even prepared to contemplate his departure?

Despite Alvaro Negredo’s recent interview with MCFC TV, where the Beast declares he is happy to stay at City, doubts still linger whether the lure of a move back to Spain, could still see him depart by 1st September.

Popular Beast - The overwhelming majority of City fans would like Negredo to stay. Courtesy @MCFC

Popular Beast – The overwhelming majority of City fans would like Negredo to stay. Courtesy @MCFC

The Beast is very popular with the fans, and rightly so, but if – if – his family are unsettled and a Spanish side is prepared to pay £20m+, is it beyond the realms that he could yet say adios?

Javi Garcia, vastly improved last season to the extent he kept Fernandinho out of the starting XI in the PL title run-in, is a known target for Rafael Benitez’s Napoli.

Neither, both or one? - Will Alvaro or Javi be casualties of a need for more home-grown players at City? Courtesy @MCFC

Neither, both or one? – Will Alvaro or Javi be casualties of a need for more home-grown players at City? Courtesy @MCFC

Stevan Jovetic has reportedly been the subject of much interest from Inter Milan who would love to take him back to Serie A, after he previously flourished in Italy with Fiorentina.

Matija Nastasic – again the focus of alleged interest from Serie A’s finest, including Juventus – could be a prime candidate for a loan or a cash move. The benefit of not selling the young Serbian defender is that he does not presently count as one of the quota of foreign players, as he is still only 20.

Boys from the Balkans - Nastasic and Jovetic have what it takes to be City stars. Courtesy @MCFC

Boys from the Balkans – Nastasic and Jovetic have what it takes to be City stars. Courtesy @MCFC

If City were to raise substantial sums from the sales of two or more of their most popular foreign stars, it might, just might pave the way for some shock big-name purchases.

Names such as Everton’s Ross Barkley are reportedly on the radar, but at the usual over-inflated PL premium. It’s amazing that England had a hideous World Cup campaign, and yet players from these shores cost far more than their more accomplished international counterparts.

With the men from Goodison Park already owing City £2m as part of Gareth Barry’s loan deal and Roberto Martinez keen to take Jack Rodwell back to Everton, there’s certainly some food for thought.

Going nowhere - Samir has signed a new 5-year deal at the Etihad. Courtesy @MCFC

Going nowhere – Samir has signed a new 5-year deal at the Etihad. Courtesy @MCFC

The Sky and BT television deals are the obvious answer as to why so much money is slushing around English domestic football, but it’s still seems daft paying huge sums for what is effectively raw and unproven talent e.g. Barkley, Lallana and £30m Luke Shaw.

Paul Pogba – championed as a natural born replacement for Yaya at some stage – would cost mega bucks if he transferred back to the right side of Manchester this time around – and he would qualify as home-grown thanks to his mis-spent youth at the Theatre of Screams.

Whether Juventus’ interest in Nastasic could help smooth a deal is perhaps wishful thinking, but who knows?

Sitting pretty - Will Matija still be in sky blue when the transfer deadline closes? Courtesy @MCFC

Sitting pretty – Will Matija still be in sky blue when the transfer deadline closes? Courtesy @MCFC

As things stand City have a squad very capable – especially if it stays fully fit for most of the time – of retaining their domestic title, despite the big-spending of Chelsea, Arsenal, Manure and Liverpool, the latter coughing up money derived from the Uruguayan Dentistry Association.

With 46 days before the transfer window closes there is still plenty of time for transfermeister Txiki Begiristain and Manuel Pellegrini to sort out at least one, maybe two, comings and up to half-a-dozen goings, to balance the respective 25-man and 21-man squads for England and Europe.

With hindsight, FFP penalties are perhaps having more of an impact, in the short term, than previously envisaged, but City have the experience, know-how, togetherness and talent to negotiate such challenges.

Rio or Manchester? - Manuel Pellegrini is reported to have declined the job of new coach of Brazil. Courtesy @MCFC

Rio or Manchester? – Manuel Pellegrini is reported to have declined the job of new coach of Brazil. Courtesy @MCFC

City have come a long way in a short time and have never been in better shape than with Manuel Pellegrini at the helm.

It’s not fanciful to believe City can improve on last year’s double trophy haul, after all, who would ever have imagined a scenario whereby a Manchester City manager would one day turn down the chance to manage Brazil?

You couldn’t make it up!

#TrustOurMP

By David Walker

www.readbutneverred.com

 

@ReadButNeverRed

 

@djwskyblu

 

20 Comments

  1. July 16, 2014  8:08 pm by MoleRocks Reply

    Mmmmmmm, this FFP certainly seems to be causing a few sleepless nights.

    The outgoings are going to be very interesting and I honestly have no idea what will happen!

    Fun times.

    • July 16, 2014  8:47 pm by David Walker Reply

      I'm sure Txiki and Manuel will sort it out - Barkley is on the radar but Pogba would be a real catch, That will probably only happen if, for soem reason Yaya leaves. I think Yaya has painted himself into a corner and needs to sort himself out.

  2. July 16, 2014  8:51 pm by Susan Richardson Reply

    Some interesting ideas there David yes it will be difficult but we will beat FFP no matter how much it has conspired against us. Hope Yaya stays City fans banter should be hilarious!

    • July 16, 2014  10:19 pm by David Walker Reply

      We only have to negotiate this season and then FFP can go do a flying F*@! because we will be in the ascendancy and Platini, Gill and all the other halfwits won't be able to touch us. I bet no one is falling over themselves to examine the validity of Adidas' shirt sponsorship deal with you know who. It eminates from the same stable of Lionel Messi - sponsored by Adidas - winning the player the of the tournament Golden Ball Award at the World Cup - that little FIFA gig sponsored heavily by...oh, what a surprise, Adidas!

      It STINKS!

  3. July 16, 2014  8:57 pm by Paul Glennon Reply

    Fantastic read yet again, well done David please keep it going. I've never known a season be so exciting this early on. Jess and Jack are already on at us to bt sport lol, once again great read my friend .

    • July 16, 2014  10:23 pm by David Walker Reply

      Thanks Paul , it always means a lot when you comment. We must speak again in the near future. I know you're the best Dad in the world to those great kids and Aileen is the most wonderful wife...so get the kids BT Sport. The pundits are predominantly backside orifices, but you can watch with the radio commentary. That said Jake Humphrey is a guy I have worked with in the past and is a smashing bloke. Take great great care my friend.

  4. July 16, 2014  11:25 pm by Andy Devereux Reply

    It is a bit of nightmare but I believe we have the right men in place to sort through the mire of red tape so we can mount a challenge on all fronts.

    • July 17, 2014  6:04 am by David Walker Reply

      I'm sure we have, but it could have been a lot more straight forward were it not for the bureaucrats and the anti-MCFC lobby.

  5. July 18, 2014  10:31 am by Mark Reply

    The rumours about Barkley do seem to be getting stronger, and now these rumours of Yaya knocking back the rags to get a move to PSG. Well if that's what he wants. Lets demand the money we'd require for his replacement.

    • July 18, 2014  3:23 pm by David Walker Reply

      Yaya's statement - if it doesn't change by next week, or the week after that etc, suggests very strongly that he's staying at City. Maybe PSG didn't have the dosh or the conviction to just keep on spending in the face of FFP. Maybe disgusting Dimitri screwed up and couldn't get more money for his client...hence today's 'I'm happy at Man City mantra...'

      I may be swimming against the tide here and not winning many, if any friends, but Yaya OWES US - AS FANS - AN HONEST EXPLANATION. He laughed when referencing #cakegate in his interview, but let's not forget his PSG panderings and his downright lies about City not allowing him compassionate leave.

      Yes, he's a great player but I have lost a lot of respect and admiration for him as a man. I'm sure he'll survive, but his name will never adorn any MCFC shirt I purchase in future. Iconic, yes he is, but Yaya is also insulting towards City and our fans.

      Barkley may still yet come - we need homegrown players and we need them before 1st September.

  6. July 18, 2014  1:25 pm by carol main Reply

    Well! this whole football malarky is like an episode of yes minister. Corruption, shadowy deals, dodgy agents, denials, counter-denials, accusations, big fat hairy lies and a clowder of fat cats creaming it off the top! You dont think Blatter could be a reincarnation of Thatcher do you? Thank goodness its nearly back though eh, we dont half miss it......and you of course Davy, we miss you too

    • July 18, 2014  3:27 pm by David Walker Reply

      A lot of people miss me Blondie...but only because their aim is less than true! Thanks for getting back together with RBNR as we near a new season. I'll see if I can deliver for those who read my musings...time, health and sanity permitting. CTWD & let's once again #TrustOurMP. Thanks for commenting.

  7. July 18, 2014  7:19 pm by Toby Teasdale Reply

    Hot topic David.

    Lescott is the only home grown player likely to be missed and he only made 10 PL appearances last season (2 as substitute). Barry never played at all. Guidetti, Richards (2), Rodwell (5) & Sinclair managed a miserable 7 PL appearance between them. If they go, they will not be missed.

    (IMO) We could bring in Emyr Huws (M), George Evans (M), Hallam Hope (F) and Reece Wabara (D) without weakening a squad that will be bolstered anyway by summer signings.

    James Milner (by no means an average player) is not an automatic first team pick. There is no reason to pay silly money for overrated benchwarmers. If it’s just a case of making up the numbers, maybe we should be looking in Championship for good journey men for FA and Capital One Cup duty? They are out there, and the proof is the number of times PL teams are 'turned over' by sides from the lower leagues.

    • July 19, 2014  10:12 pm by David Walker Reply

      Good observations TT - there is work to be done before August 17th and ultimately September 1st. I'd rather Negredo, Garcia and Nastasic stay with the club BUT if we need to raise funds for the likes of Barkley and DiMaria I'll put my faith in Manuel and Txiki to get the balance of the squad right. Rekik, Lopes and Huws are three of the younger lads who can and will stake a claim in the near future for regular first team exposure, albeit Ronny is getting valuable experience with Lille, including Champions League exposure. We can achieve a lot even with this scandalous FFP crap being heaped upon us...just wait for 2015-16!

  8. July 19, 2014  1:36 pm by Richard Cooper Reply

    Bit late responding to your article but thanks for claryfying the contrived FFP can do and can't do scenarios. To be honest the more I read the more confused I get as the permutations to comply with the "home grown" ruling are thankfully not my responsibility !
    When the comings and goings are all sorted out I am sure the powers that be at MCFC will reach the correct balance. I do hope that we keep Jovetic as an injury free Jovetic looks a terrific prospect. I agree with your comments regarding overpriced english players - I do think their egos exceed their talent.
    I often wonder why some media call the England team of Lampard,Gerrard, Terry etc the Golden Generation - surely you have win something to earn that title - Having said that I think Barkley is a very good player but whether he would be worth the asking price is perhaps doubtful at this stage of his career. Your comparison of the value of Kroos highlights the problem with buying english players. It is hard to remember England took part in that very good World Cup and 1 point from 3 games was really not good enough and we appear "light" years away from making a serious challenge at an international tournament.

    So Ya Ya is staying ! Has lost a lot of respect with the silly comments during the summer - just prove next season with your performances that you are commited to the club.
    The only pro Ya Ya comment I would make is as I think mentioned by Mourinho - How can arguably the best player in the title winning team NOT win Player of the Year - bad choice of award winner but not not important enough to sulk about all summer !

    Best news of the summer - Alan Hansen retrires - Hip Hip .......

    With the transfers done and the transfers to come next season could be one of the most exiting with about 4-5 teams in with a shout come May 2015

    • July 19, 2014  10:19 pm by David Walker Reply

      Thanks as ever for your comprehensive feedback RC - we're pretty much on the same wavelength on MCFC matters. Let LVG get all the limelight, Jose say that his news signings will take Chelsea to the top slot, Wenger spend big money to prove his long held football philosophy is totally flawed and Brenda squander the money from the sale of the Uruguayan rodent...while MP engineers more City success, without the need for outrageous comments and snide backstabbing.

      Let's make history and retain our title for the first time in history!

  9. July 22, 2014  11:24 am by Toby Teasdale Reply

    David, what do you think of Balotelli (price tag £16m) returning to the Etihad?

    Could Pellegrini succeed where others have failed, or does Mario have too much baggage?

    • July 23, 2014  3:13 pm by David Walker Reply

      Where the hell has that one come from? Mario is one of a kind but why would we buy him? We're ok with our strikers, Mario still blows hot & cold as evidenced in the WC, and MP is not one for hosting a media circus.

      There's a sentimental element that says come back Mario, but why did he leave in the first place...he missed Italy and wanted to play for his boyhood team.

      On balance I'd say no, but not without some regrets.

  10. July 27, 2014  5:12 pm by stuart reed Reply

    Ed Woodward quote from http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/28389766
    "There is no fixed budget," he said. "Financially we are extremely strong. We want to do what it takes to win the title."
    So.... buying the league, eh? Can you imagine the uproar if Feran or Txiki had said that
    only counts if you're spending your own money and not in debt then.

    • July 28, 2014  8:38 pm by David Walker Reply

      The hypocrisy is staggering isn't it?

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