The Abu Dhabi United Group, backed by Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan completed the takeover of Manchester City in 2008. Back then, The new owner said in a clear statement: “We are not going to do crazy stuff, but it makes sense for us to build a dynasty.” Ever since day one, Mansour outlined Manchester City’s plan to not only break into the top four but also become the best in the Premier League and among the best in the world. He stressed on his desire to attract the world’s best players but without hindering the progress of the players that are training at Manchester City’s academy.
Since that day, The ‘Citizens’ spent a lot of money on signings such as Robinho, Sergio Aguero, Yaya Toure, Jo, David Silva and many more. Some players turned out to be flops while others proved themselves at the club and displayed world class performances. Many regarded this new management as absurd for spending so much money on players but no one saw beyond that. The club knew that the only way for them to get a return on their investment if the club becomes a star studded one, a team that will compete for the title. After all, they wanted to attract fans from all over the world and how can an average Premier League team do that? How can a team compete with Chelsea and Manchester United who already pay hundreds of millions of pounds a year in wages?
City went further than spending money on players, they signed lucrative contracts with sponsors, they made tours across Asia and the US, and they established themselves as one of the most prominent teams on social media. Although, they were not making any profit in their first we years, now the club is breaking even financially and starting to generate profit under the new owner, City won their first ever Premier League title, which ended the dominance of Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea that lasted between 1995 till 2012.
The club did a quantum leap by appointing Ferran Soriano as CEO and Txiki Begiristain as a director of football. The duo may not be famous public figures among the public in Manchester but they have been the masterminds behind the planning and execution of the team’s plan. Begiristain was the man who decided to place the trust in Pep Guardiola as the man to lead Barcelona and that move changed the whole football scene and took Barcelona to the summit of the world. Today, Txiki is still following the same philosophy he adapted at Barcelona which is the belief of creating a team of stars that came through the ranks of the academy and relying on attacking football, but he always had a special plan for City, it was not a copy of the Barcelona one.
If Txiki wants to create a team from academy players, then why does he have all those international players? It is simple, at the moment, City are yet to reap the product of their labor, the academy has been developing ever since day one and season after season, the Citizens are improving and upgrading their facilities but for now, they need to attract a big fan base and this is why they rely on all international players they have. Txiki was also the man who decided to axe Roberto Mancini and appoint Manuel Pellegrini. The decision came because he believed that the club should not only bring results but they should also impress the world with their attacking football and he wanted to get people who have experienced Spanish football and so after appointing the new manager, Alvaro Negredo, Jesus Navas and Martín Demichelis. In addition, City already had Javi Garcia, David Silva, Yaya Toure and Pablo Zabaleta. Slowly, the club adapted to the new philosophy and now they gelled together and are competing for the Premier League title.
In terms of business, they are about to kick-start a team in New York city in partnership with the New York Yankees, they also purchased Melbourne Heart last month, for the same money City would have been able to sign a quality goalkeeper to take the place of Joe Hart but it was Soriano’s decision to prefer to purchase a club than a goalkeeper because simply he saw a return on the investment. The management at City is fully aware of the expenses it has and they are not willing to spend on useless things. They were interested in signing Isco in the summer but they opted not to because of his high price tag because simply they don’t only want to play within the rules, they want to show financial cleverness. They million they spent in previous years were a necessity if they needed to win a title.
Last night they have lost against Barcelona, a team that is more than a club, though City themselves are quite more than a club as well, they are a global business, and they’re a team for the whole world, from their partner clubs in Australia and New York to their business partners in the gulf and Asia, they have been creating job opportunities and helping the community around them. Manchester City is a world-wide project, an idea that goes beyond copying La Masia or spending lavishly. It shows that people from all over the world can work professionally together and achieve something big. Despite the inevitable early exit at the hands of Barcelona from the Champions League, they have nothing to be ashamed of. The Citizens are gaining European experience season after season and they are improving gradually, they aren’t going to dominate Europe this season, but they have all the time in the world, after all Rome wasn’t built in a day.