Are Manchester City guilty of impulse buying?

Kieran Beckles
By Kieran Beckles

With the summer spending sprees well under way, Manchester City have hit the back pages on more then one occasion. Indeed it appears every other day City are pursuing a new superstar.

Last Christmas they failed to secure the services of Kaka, despite offering £110 million and a maniacal weekly wage. At the time City chief executive Gary Cook was quick to lament AC Milan as a hindrance to the transfer.

“If you want my personal opinion they bottled it,” Cook told the media.

“He clearly was for sale but we never got to meet with the player, the behaviour of AC Milan got in the way.”

However, Hughes and company didn’t spend long licking their wounds. It’s less than a month since the 2008-09 campaign came to an end, and City have already spent in excess of £35 million (Gareth Barry and Roque Santa Cruz). And there is no fear of the cheque book closing quite yet.

Carlos Tevez is set to switch allegiances, making the controversial move from the red half of Manchester to the blue. City are expected to land the Argentine ace by Wednesday for an estimated fee of £25 million.

In addition, reports from Spain suggest that Barcelona’s Samuel Eto’o is poised to move to the Premier League. Barcelona president, Juan Laporta is quoted as saying:

“Eto’o has a stratospheric offer from City, which would convert him into the best paid player in the world.”

“He wants to stay but an offer like this is very difficult to refuse.”

Manchester City are thought to have bid £25 million for the Cameroon player, who bagged 36 goals in the Catalan club’s most successful campaign in their long prestigious history. Offering astronomical wages and with David Villa lined up as a replacement for Eto’o, it appears not be a question of if, but when.

Upon the completion of the transfers of Tevez and Eto’o, Mark Hughes’ summer spending will have hit £90 million plus. Undoubtedly exciting times for any City fan.

Worryingly though, Hughes seems to have decided to invest heavily in attacking players while ignoring his teams obvious defensive vulnerabilities. Last term City scored an impressive 58 league goals thanks to the likes of Robinho, Stephen Ireland and Craig Bellamy.

Along with new additions Cruz, Eto’o and Tevez and established players like Benjani, Daniel Sturridge, Jo, Darius Vassell, Elano and Felipe Caicedo, Hughes will have a host of strikers to choose from when selecting his starting line up come 15th August 2009.

Manchester City’s underlying problem is not scoring goals but in fact preventing them. They conceded 50 goals last season, with central defenders Richard Dunne and Micah Richards both enduring torrid seasons.

Even signings like Vincent Kompany, Tel Ben Haim, Wayne Bridge and Nigel De Jong failed to bolster their defence. All second rate signings. The only defensive signing that proved a hit has been Irish goalkeeper Shay Given, who for years produced man of the match performances when faced with a hapless defence in front of him.

So instead of splashing the cash on hotshot strikers maybe it’s time Hughes invested wisely in a few solid proven defenders. Of course having quality finishers up front is essential for any title challenging team. But for all those goals scored it’s no use if your conceding just as many.


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