Man City Must Make Barry the Start of Their Summer Spending, Not the Star

Alex StampCorrespondent IJune 6, 2009

MANCHESTER, UNITED KINGDOM - MAY 02:   Manchester City Manager Mark Hughes gives a thumbs up during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Blackburn Rovers at the City of Manchester Stadium on May 2, 2009 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

After much of the transfer talk was focused on Real Madrid’s big spending, and transfer records breaking, it was Manchester City who fired the first shot in this summer's transfer war.

The news itself emerged rapidly on the Tuesday, England international Gareth Barry moves to Manchester City, for a relatively sedate fee of £12 million.

Firstly, on Barry, certainly Manchester City will be well aware of what he brings to their side as a player. A calming presence in the centre of midfield, with a good range of passing allied to a cute positional awareness, as well as, most importantly, bags of experience.

12 million pounds represents a sound piece of business for an England first-team regular, bearing in mind that Barry's illustrious comrades, Lampard and Gerrard, would each command at least double such a fee. While the players who Barry keeps out of the England team, such as Carrick and Jenas, would command higher prices as well.

As such, credit must be given to the much maligned City chief executive Garry Cook. Much criticised for his approach in the Kaka deal, he played an important part in the Barry deal. It was he who convinced a player who appeared determined to play in the Champions League that his interests would be best served at City, which speaks volumes for both City's and Cook's ambitions.

What this deal marks, which City fans in particular will be hoping, is two important points. Firstly it demonstrates quite the levels of financial power which City are able to call upon, and how it can be properly exercised.

Secondly, it points to a strategic long-term plan throughout the City management for the club, which is a unique, and powerful selling point to players like Barry.

The importance of this is the future implications which these two points could have on City's transfer plans.

Manchester City must aim high, and ensure that in order to achieve their grand ambitions, like those they outlined to Barry, City must be looking at continuing their policy of recruiting bigger and better players.

The squad itself needs revamping, beyond merely the signing of Barry. There are two particular areas which the club will be keen on strengthening—up front, and in defence.

For while City's midfield boasts a wide variety of skill, ability and abundant class, their forward line resembles a roll call at a journeyman footballer's bazaar.

Certainly the likes of Benjani and Vassell are patently not good enough, Jo has yet to prove himself at his parent club, while Ched Evans could soon learn that at the level City are aiming, hard work alone is not enough.

Meanwhile for all the exciting potential of Felipe Caicedo and the want-away Daniel Sturridge, City could well look at Arsene Wenger's example and decide that potential gets you nothing if not time, but City want results.

Therefore, their targets are ambitious, and the purchase of two big money strikers could soon be in the offing. One such target is Carlos Tevez, available and keen to remain in the North West, one can imagine the delight for City fans if they managed to snatch a long-term target for their two North West rivals from under their noses.

While another target could well be Barcelona's Samuel Eto'o, vanquisher of their city rivals in Rome. Eto'o represents a big name, potent goal-scorer, whose future at Barcelona is still subject to debate.

While another option could be long-term target Roque Santa Cruz, whose height and guile would add much to City's forward line, however he remains frustratingly injury prone.

Meanwhile Hughes will also be looking to strengthen his defence, which at times has looked exposed. Certainly another centre half would be welcome and one could see a bid for the likes of Bruno Alves, or the much-criticised Real Madrid centre half Pepe. Both are talented defenders, who could thrive in the Premiership and, importantly for City, are both achievable targets.

While Hughes could look for another right back to pressure the fatally inconsistent Micah Richards, whose defending is still prone to be more reactive, than anticipatory, and thus is eminently targetable for the very best sides.

Certainly, a big-name target would be Inter Milan's full back Maicon, but tempting him from the San Siro would be a tough ask, perhaps a more realistic target would be Lucas Neill, who is fresh from rejecting a new contract at West Ham.

Perhaps if City can strengthen in these areas, then perhaps they could soon be in a position to fulfil the grand ambitions that their management have for the club.

And as they say in football, money talks, and over the next few weeks City could send out some bold statements to the football world.


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