It was August 2008 and Man City fans were beaming with excitement following the clubs’ takeover by Abu Dhabi United Group. City fans might have been forgiven for thinking that the club might endure some real success in times to come. Some questions are still to be answered, with one particular question coming to mind…Can you buy a Premier League Title? To set the tone for the radical change that Man City have seen in just over two years, I consider it noteworthy to focus on what the club have spent on personnel in an attempt to bring happier times to the club; and to assess the degree to which such spending has succeeded.
In 2008/09 Man City spent £122m on new players including the likes of Robinho (£32.5m), Craig Bellamy (£14m) and Nigel De Jong (16m). Firstly, you will note that the first two of the aforementioned signings have since departed the club on loan. Similarly, one may question the degree to which Nigel De Jong has influenced the Man City side in recent times. Undoubtedly De Jongs’ ability to break up the play and limit the time opposition players have on the ball is their for all to see, but his disciplinary record has led some to question whether he is suited to what is a fast-paced skill-based Premier League.
In 2009/10 the spending spree soared once again to a scintillating £117m. Emmanuel Adebayor (£25m), Jolean Lescott (£22m) and Kolo Toure (£16m) were just a few of the hoard of players to arrive at Eastlands. Gareth Barry (£12m) has perhaps been the biggest disappointment to arrive at the club. Being an Aston Villa fan I am no longer bitter at Barry’s financially-motivated move to City. At the time I thought he had the potential to make a real name for himself and become an established member of the England starting lineup…how foolish! Barry no longer stands out in a Premier League fixture due to his incredible ability to give away the ball carelessly. Coupled with a far from pristine disciplinary records he is fast becoming a Premier League flop in my opinion.
Perhaps the clubs’ greatest piece of business came when the club purchased the hardworking figure of Carlos Tevez (£25.5m). Almost 16 months on I believe that Tevez is well on his way to repaying such a heavy price tag. He has a work rate like no other player in the Premier League. Tirelessly chasing the ball he is happy playing on the shoulder or coming deeper to get the ball, something Man City have really benefited from. Tevez scoring record speaks for itself, with 32 goals in 45 City appearances he has been outstanding.
Teves is proving his Premier League credentials, but can it lead Man City to the Premier League title? Photo: Eurosport.
In the current season City have spent £79m (so far). Yaya Toure is beginning to live up to his £25m price tag and I believe we will soon see the best of the £24m David Silva. Spending since the takeover has surpassed £300m, but what has it changed?
City finished the 2008/09 season in 10th place after an extremely disappointing season. 2009/10 saw the club pipped to the Champions League post by Tottenham culminating in a 5th place finish.
We are now 14 games into the 2010/11 Premier League season, where City lie only three points from the top of the table. A squad lacking cohesion in recent seasons is in my opinion just starting to click. Sunday’s 4-1 win at Craven Cottage showed that the side is starting to believe they can achieve. City face Stoke, Bolton, West Ham, Everton, Newcastle and Aston Villa before the turn of the year. I predict that the first week of 2011 could see Man City sitting very healthily in the top three.
City’s progress in the season will depend on a number of factors. The clubs’ investments to date will soon have to pay off. Tevez alone cannot carry City to their first top-flight title since 1967/68. He will need the help of so called ‘world class’ who have yet to live up to their astronomical price tags. The team will have to work cohesively as a unit and eliminate the inconsistency that has scuppered their hopes of success in previous years. Most importantly they will have to believe they can defy the odds.
On paper, City will have as good a chance as anyone else in the Premier League. The fans will be fidgeting in their seats in the coming months as a Premier League title is becoming increasingly possible. Can money buy you a Premier League title? One would have to say no for now, but ask me again in six months!