10 Jun 2023 at 05:06
Fifteen years after the takeover by the Abu Dhabi United Group, Manchester City can put the crown on Saturday evening. A win in the Champions League final against Internazionale separates ‘The Citizens’ from the triple.
“On the last day of the transfer window, Chelsea made me a fantastic offer, which I accepted,” delighted Robinho told Manchester City in September 2008. “Oh, sorry, Manchester City of course.”
The Brazilian’s speech was somehow understandable. For a long time it seemed that the dribbler would go to Chelsea in the summer of 2008, until Premier League mid-engine Manchester City came into the hands of Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan and his Abu Dhabi United Group.
The estimated wealth of the Mansour family is 20 billion euros. This makes his family the most prosperous in Abu Dhabi, one of the seven states that together form the United Arab Emirates.
City does not bet on faded stars
Robinho was the first in a long list of signings that have catapulted Manchester City to the English and later European top flight. The Brazilian would not become a symbol of the classic City purchase: the club management is not betting on faded stars, but on players who have not yet reached their absolute ceiling. A policy that is extremely successful, but also expensive.
In the fifteen years after the takeover, Manchester City spent no less than 2.31 billion euros on players. Only Chelsea spent more on the transfer market in the same period (2.38 billion euros). In addition to many national prizes, the Londoners also won the Champions League twice, the missing jewel in Manchester City’s crown.
That could change on Saturday night in Istanbul. This would make the club, which was still in the margins in the 1990s, only the second English club with a treble, after Manchester United.
Arrival Guardiola masterstroke Manchester City leadership
For coach Pep Guardiola, after his feat with FC Barcelona in 2009, it can be his second triple. The Catalan is perhaps Manchester City’s most important purchase.
Sheikh Mansour and his associates had been chasing the tactician for years before he finally gave his yes in 2016. After a difficult debut season, in which Manchester City finished third and disappointed in Europe, Guardiola got his team going.
Earlier in his career, the coach feared his expiration date, but after four years of Barcelona and three seasons of Bayern Munich, the Catalan is at the end of his seventh City year. With two or three major purchases every year, Guardiola provides much-needed refreshment and hunger in his selection. In that context, a triple would not be the final piece, but the start of a City era.
Manchester City would have broken financial rules
Manchester City’s phenomenal performance has been overshadowed by an investigation into alleged financial misconduct committed by the club between 2009 and 2018. The Premier League announced that investigation in February.
The champion of England is said to have failed to comply with Financial Fair Play rules, among other things, by providing incomplete or incorrect information about sponsorship income and contracts of players and trainers. If City is found guilty, the club risks a hefty fine, point deduction or exclusion from the competition.