Late last summer, the vastly wealthy Abu Dhabi United Group for Development and Investment (ABUG) consortium bought out Manchester City. Many soccer fans never gave much thought about the effect it could have until now, almost a year later.
After multiple big-name signings, Man City have asked the question: How big are the “Big Four?”
This summer they have captured the signatures of Gareth Barry (Aston Villa), Emmanuel Adebayor (Arsenal), Carlos Tevez (Manchester United), Roque Santa Cruz (Blackburn Rovers), and goalkeeper Stuart Taylor (Aston Villa), with the only notable loss being young striker Daniel Sturridge, who has moved to Chelsea for an undisclosed fee.
Two of Man City’s more recent signings—Tevez and Adebayor—have come from two of the Premier League's Big Four. These deals have not only damaged their main competition but also greatly upgraded their own squad.
Now many fans have posed the question: Can Man City oust a top club? The most common club debated is Arsenal.
Arsenal have always stood by their rather strict policy on transfer dealings and wages, and after four years without a trophy, many of their fans have begun questioning the method. With only Robin van Persie as a proven goal scorer on their team, it is clear that now more than ever they need to bolster their squad.
Last season was riddled with disappointment, and the only bright spot was the signing of Russian star Andrey Arshavin, who came on a deadline deal in January. Fans, and now even players, have openly admitted they are lacking something in their squad. Arsenal need signings to put them back in the title race.
With the fresh sale of Adebayor to their soon-to-be rivals Man City, Arsenal now have money to spend and gaps to fill. The most prominent need is a defensive midfielder, though many fans would also like a striker brought in as well.
Manchester City look to be ready to make the jump into the top four, but with so many recent signings, can the money alone buy trophies—or even a Champions League spot?
Man City will be including at least eight new players in their starting lineup who have been signed within the last 10 to 12 months. Can a completely new team gel together in their first season, or will it take two or three years before they fully enter their stride? Only time will tell.
However, writing any Arsenal side off at any point is a dangerous game. Man City have a variety of attacking options that can contend with the best in the league, but their defense and midfield, though formidable, is still inferior to the likes of Cesc Fabregas and company.
Any team that features players like Fabregas, Arshavin, and van Persie—who are capable of starting on any team in the world—are due respect from their opponents. Even Gael Clichy, Kolo Toure, Theo Walcott, Eduardo, and Samir Nasri are all stylish players that allow Arsenal to play brilliant football.
Not to mention the youth Arsenal have with Jack Wilshere, Kieran Gibbs, Denilson, Abou Diaby, Aaron Ramsay, and Carlos Vela (just to name a few).
In truth, Arsenal are a shadow of the team that once went undefeated in the league—a long five years ago—but there is no doubt in anyone’s mind the talent they possess will be magnificent in the future.
Both clubs are still “up-and-coming” and have potential. City need time to develop their team chemistry and gel with all the talent they possess. While Arsenal often start with the youngest side in the Premier League, fans are waiting for all this potential to finally turn into results.
Despite Man City’s signings and their ability to attract big-name players to the club now, there remains a fairly notable streak of talent running throughout the Arsenal squad—perhaps not of the same standard of the three clubs above them last season, but still more than a match for any of the 16 clubs below them.
At the moment Arsenal are dormant in their transfer dealings, but there is still plenty of time for Arsene Wenger to entice one or more of his targets to the Emirates Stadium before the season kicks off.
Arsenal, as of now, have enough talent to hold on to their top four spot, but if Wenger can land some of his rumored targets before the start of the season, then it won’t take much for Arsenal to build a team potentially capable of at least chasing down Chelsea.
Man City’s time may come in a few years, but Arsenal’s future lies solely in the hands of one man—Arsene Wenger.