Yet another away game, yet another below performance for the Citizens. If Sunday’s defeat at Sunderland proved one thing, it’s that Manchester City still have a long way to go before they can pose a serious threat.
Though the argument that money doesn’t buy you success seems a fragile one, it does seem to be ringing true for the club that spent over $200 million this summer. The more you watch City, the more you realize that it’s not the money that’s the problem; its the way it’s spent.
Yes, James Milner is very good. A pacey winger who’s delivery credentials was evident when he found Gareth Barry out of nowhere last week against Liverpool. But is he really worth just under $50 million? For half that money Arsenal invested in Samir Nasri, a proven playmaker who is about quantity, not quality. And what about Mario Ballotelli? Sorry, but this is a man who managed to alienate the people of Milan with his lacklustre performances and still ask for a pay increase. He could start a fight in an empty room.
It’s easy to criticize any team that has just lost, but it was the manner in which defeat came that showed the issues at hand. Even with Carlos Tevez’s shocking twelve yard miss, City never really looked like scoring, nor did they even look like mustering an attempt on goal.
Yaya Toure is another example of how poorly the money’s been spent. There is little doubt that teams add 50% to the price when City ask for an evaluation. Instead of the amount they spend each week on keeping him on the payroll, a cool $350,000, Man. City could surely have dangled the same sum in front of the best striker in the world and employed the services of Fernando Torres, especially given that cash-strapped Liverpool are hardly in a position to haggle.
Imagine it, Torres alongside Tevez. The proverbial lambs to the slaughter comes to mind.
But look at this from another angle as well. Every player linked with City this summer was also courted by someone else. If you can afford to buy a player so a rival can’t have them, why wouldn’t you?
Of course, from a player’s perspective, you’d like to think no amount of money would be enough when it comes from a club that, at least right now, can’t even offer the promise of Champions League football. Sadly, it seems that’s not true for everyone.
It could be another slow year for Manchester City, and when owner Sheikh Mansour gets bored and wants to buy an island instead, they’re going to be left with a hefty wage bill of players who are good, but not good enough.