Team Building or Highway Robbery? Why Villa Should Be Laughing at City

Justin DowlingContributor IAugust 18, 2010

Recent news has come out of England that Manchester City's latest signing in there major league spending spree that started at the beginning of last season is James Milner from Aston Villa; one can't help to ask themselves—is this team overhaul really going to pay off?

In the last 2 years City have opened there checkbooks and haven’t shied away from signing whoever they can in a struggle to find supremacy in the ultra competitive English Premier League.

In this transfer window alone, Manchester City has spent over £118 million pounds and overall over the past two seasons. Their total spending has eclipsed the £350 million pound mark, which is staggering to say the least. 

In this economic climate, one can't help to think how long will it take for the Abu Dhabi United group and Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan to pull back the reins on this spending spree; also, how short of a leash is manager Roberto Mancini really on?

It is one thing to pay an inflated fee for a promising young teenager who plays like a wonder kid on the field in buying Mario Balotelli, but it is a completely different thing in paying an inflated fee for a player who is growing in reputation but does not necessarily make your team better as a whole.

James Milner is a fine young player who seems to make the players around him better—only when the players around him aren't on the same level of skill as he is. This is what happened at Leeds United, Newcastle, and Aston Villa but he has yet to produce anything worthwhile in a senior England shirt for the national team while playing next to player's of equal or higher quality.  

Milner has shown brilliance at times mainly with his epic strike against Sunderland last season in which he showed his strength on the ball and then his ability to finish from outside the 18-yard box. But he has also shown major inconsistency with his crossing of the ball and hardly puts the ball in the back of the net on a regular basis.

City is quoted as paying a sum of £18 million pounds plus adding £8 million-rated Stephen Ireland to the deal, which is shocking to me, but only makes sense because the young Irishman wanted out of Eastland’s. 

Now if you look at the deal as a whole, £18 million pounds for Milner plus £8-10 million-rated Stephen Ireland equals around £26-28 million pounds; is James Milner really worth that?

Stephen Ireland received the award as City's most valuable player just two seasons ago and is now quickly cast out for James Milner, who is a year older then Ireland. Yes, Stephen Ireland can provide headaches if he isn't pleased with playing time and treatment, but if he's happy, he's a far greater asset then James Milner, especially after Milner expressed he wanted to leave Villa Park for Eastland’s.

Aston Villa has to be ecstatic about receiving £18 million pounds and Stephen Ireland for a player who no longer wanted to play for their club. Now, they can take that £18 million and beef up their defense in front of one of the best keepers in the league in Brad Friedel while still having that stoutness in attack from Ashley Young, Gabriel Agbonlahor, John Carew, Stewart Downing, Emile Heskey, and now Stephen Ireland.

Only time will tell if all this spending pays off for Manchester City, but to this point, every move they make seems to have a cloud of doubt looming overhead and every step they take just seems like two steps forward and one step back. Already dropping points to Tottenham in the first game of the season last weekend with a draw, I highly doubt that this team that is built to "win now" will actually win anything at all.