Manchester City: The Biggest Threat to the Premier League?
With the result against Spurs, City may not only be mathematically guaranteed Champions League football next season but could possibly overtake Arsenal and guarantee their entry into the group stages.
They may be 11 points behind United but will certainly be a massive threat next season, added to a potential piece of silverware with the FA Cup final looming.
My biggest worry will be the players they bring in. Over the past few seasons, they've been linked to nearly every big star and transfer story around. Up until now, they've only been able to acquire mercenaries with fairly mixed results.
However, one of their biggest barriers—their status in the league—has held them back from acquiring the biggest talents. They now have Champions League football and they now look to be challenging on all fronts. How they'll manage remains to be seen.
While the biggest players in the world are essentially tied up equally big clubs, they'll also be able the type of wages that would fund entire teams. Which heads will be turned will be make for interesting reading and I'm pretty sure Sheikh Mansour will be more than happy to bankroll a nine-figure investment to get the Champions League trophy.
I had hoped the Financial Fair Play rules would help balance things out, but as things stand, City have not showed any fear and potential loopholes lay waiting to be exploited, so that idea may have gone out of the window.
City already top the wage lists and players are likely to be offloaded but they look some distance away from making the type of revenue United and the big clubs make. Though the star names will help much in their marketing to other countries, bringing in a player like Keisuke Honda or Park Chu Young wouldn't be out of the realm of possibility.
They have a excellent base to build on, with a enviable spine of Hart, Toure, Silva and Tevez and a host of great players at their disposal.
Mancini's tactics this season have not wowed neutral fans but they are pretty solid, a few exciting and world-class players can possibly turn City into English Galacticos.
It does seem Mansour's tactics, however, are heading to fruition and it's more Mansour 1, Premier League 0. I don't like the idea that Premier League success can be brought and there's something intrinsically evil about the way big money is ruining football on all levels. Qatar 2022 still doesn't sound quite right.
Abramovich may have started something similar with Chelsea, but it was very much Mourinho's team that became champions. Though in recent seasons they've grown on me and Id rather have them win trophies than United, but Fergie remains as successful as ever.
Either way a potential six-horse race is on the cards next season. United, Chelsea and Arsenal will be aiming to keep their stranglehold on the top three while City will have to juggle their new-found success with at least six extra games next season. Spurs will be pushing for the top four again, hoping to repeat their heroics this season, while Liverpool haven't got Europe to worry about and could steal a march when the European matches start to pile up.
Teams that don't make the grade not only lose out to that extra European money but should provide even more excitement for next season.
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