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Wednesday, July 27, 2011


Such has been the wealth of riches at Eastlands since Sheik Mansour took over that when Gary Cook was having a lunch with his friend almost an year ago he had the audacity to list down the big name targets on a tissue paper. Those were the targets that would catapult City among the elite, a list which consisted of several top notch players, A list that even created envious glances from the red half of Manchester. City did not have the pulling power of the Champions League then, although the seduction of money would have been hard to resist for the players but the chance of playing in the holy grail of club completion was beyond City’s reach at that time. Some of the targets that Cook had in his mind then were signed and some they got away with.
Times have changed now, City are in the Champions League this season and will be among the direct entrants when the draw takes place in late August for the group stages. They have the might of signing any player in the world right now. The targets that they have been pursuing are strikingly brilliant, they had the ability to blow Barcelona out of the water over the Sanchez deal but ultimately it was the player’s desire to play for the Blaugrana that proved to be their undoing. Atletico Madrid’s Kun Aguero is City bound so has been Samir Nasri [although I do not see that transfer materializing]. A world class left back backup in Gael Clichy has been signed. Dzeko will be in his first full season with the club with a proper pre-season behind him. You could well decide now whether he has been an expensive flop or the hype is really worth it.
The Tevez saga has been really dragging on for an eternity. For all the ability that Carlitos has, it appeared that he had been holding the club to ransom at many times last season, the sheer disrespect he had for Mancini might have been another destabilizing factor and further undermined the manager’s authority over his players, something that others took cue from, you all know who I am talking about, The two Bs, Boating and Balotelli. One has been sold to Bayern and the other is too audacious albeit brilliant talent to do away with. He has that ability to go from the sublime to the utterly awful within seconds that it makes you wonder whether he really is worth the baggage that he comes with.
The defence has been unchanged this season with no one of any importance departing. It will be much more stronger than it was last season, Hart in goal with Kompany, Lescott, the ever so improving buccaneering right back Micah Richards, the returning Kolo Toure, Kolarov and the flying Clichy would provide a lot of stability. De Jong one of the unsung heroes of last season and the emergence of Yaya Toure in the central role in an attacking position will certainly give Mancini a lot of options.
It all comes down to the manager at the end of the day and whether he decides to go with a team of three defensive albeit solid midfielders by taking a serieA approach or be a bit more cavalier by using the wealth of attacking options at his disposal to convert those crucial drab home draws he had last season into strong wins. The pragmatism of the side and their solid organization will hold them in good stead come the Champions League. Make no mistake City will surely be a force to be reckoned with next season. They are already well versed with the financial fair play regulations too; the 400mn pound Etihad deal is a testimony to that. A deal that has sent shock waves across the top hierarchy of Europe. Wenger has been criticizing the deal and their crazy spending but this did not stop him from accepting the inflated transfer fees for his not so good players every one of the last two seasons. Bayern Munich were grumbling about it too but have gone silent since the completion of the Boateng deal.
All those people talking that City will not be in the mix or could self destruct are fooling themselves. Remember that this team has been playing together for over a year now. There have been no wholesale changes unlike last term and there has been the same manager as last season and with Carlitos departing it could give the manager some badly needed control over the players in the quest to win a league title in England. The Blue Moon has already risen whether it will be able to fight off the Red Devilry or get eclipsed by it will be something that we would all be looking out for.

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