Robin Van Persie‘s possible move from Arsenal to Manchester City has been the talk of the footballing town for quite a while, with everyone trying to work out how he would fit into a side already burgeoning with abominable amounts of talent. And several have questioned whether they need another striker at all, considering City already have the luxury of Sergio Aguero, Carlos Tevez, Mario Balotelli, Edin Dzeko, and then prolific prodigy John Guidetti, who strode into the limelight after an excellent season on loan at Feyenoord last season. And to provide good company to the reserve team are out-of-favour strikers Emmanuel Adebayor and Roque Santa Cruz, both of whom were signed for good money, and get paid even better.
The truth is, City need to trim their squad of all the excesses before they can delve into the market. City has, in all probability, the best squad of any side in the world, with Real Madrid the only possible exception. A squad of such depth in quality and quantity is a dream for any manager, and a look towards the other big teams in England just serves to magnify that notion. Arsene Wenger and Sir Alex Ferguson would die to be able to keep players like Adebayor, Guidetti, and Kolo Toure as reserves, and mere “team players”. But where their teams are in dire need of a strong squad, City have the bane of a bloated team, with players they neither seem to want to play, nor able to sell.
Most of them are remnants of City’s Mark Hughes era, when he want on a buying spree, and signed the most average players for the highest prices. City got rid of Craig Bellamy last year, when he left for Liverpool on a free transfer. But he was brought to City for £14m by Hughes, and paid exorbitant wages. So City ended up losing all their investment on him. The same can be said of Shaun Wright-Phillips who now plys his trade at Queens Park Rangers – where Mark Hughes plys his trade too. He signed on at City for almost £9m. Wayne Bridge, Emmanuel Adebayor, Santa Cruz, and Micahel Johnson haven’t been part of Roberto Mancini’s plans, and have spent season after season on loan at various clubs. This season too, Bridge has been sent to Championship side Brighton & Hove Albion. The futures of the other three look unclear, with clubs having shown interest, but being warded off due to the massive wages.
The fundamental problem with a club like City loaning out their players is that their wages have to be massively subsidised by the parent clubs, and as a result they actually end up paying players who play for other teams. The most recent case was when Adebayor was loaned out to Tottenham, and was instrumental in their guiding them to a fourth place EPL finish. But City paid 60 per cent of his wages even when he was away from them. Now, his transfer fee is a measly £5m, but his £170,000 weekly wages put off possible suitors vying for a permanent move. Michael Johnson is another, once seen as the future of City and England’s midfield, his injury woes, and off-field antics have seen his career take a shocking blow, and a permanent move away would aid both parties, but a move away just cannot be found.
With UEFA Financial Fair Play looming, City cannot keep losing money the way they are, and the first step to break even would be sell off some of their overpaid stars, and then buy anyone they would want. Roberto Mancini is like a woman in a shopping mall, compulsive and persistent. When he wants someone, he buys him, cost no bar. The Mansour family are his credit card, but that credit card won’t run forever, unless he pays back some of the bills.