Manchester City have a problem, a home grown problem. After the departures of Frank Lampard, James Milner, Micah Richards and Dedryck Boyata they have a serious shortage of the required “home grown” players needed in both the Premier League and the Champions League. For next season’s Premier League campaign they need 8 out of a 25 man squad, whereas for their assault on the Champions League they require 5 out of a 21 man panel.
But here is the problem, they only have 3. Joe Hart and Gael Clichy take up two of the berths with the other slot being taken up by 37 year old Richard Wright, that’s Richard Wright who hasn’t played a single game in his 3 year spell at the club. This means they require another 5 “home grown” signings this Summer, now you may think with the money at their disposal that it shouldn’t be too much of an issue and in all fairness it’s not quite a doomsday scenario but they are slightly hamstrung by two things. The first being the ongoing FFP restrictions which have curtailed the Champions League squad by 4 players and the fact that other clubs will be able to add a premium to their players as they know Manchester City need to buy.
The primary case in point here is there ongoing bid to sign Liverpool’s Raheem Sterling. After starting the proceedings with a £25m bid which was then subsequently followed up by a £40m bid, it is now being reported that City are going to have to come back with a £50m bid for the Liverpool Forward. Liverpool slightly have the edge on the negotiations as they know ‘City are in more of a desperate need to sign the England International but on the other hand they must be careful not to price themselves out of any deal especially as it’s been mooted that Stirling doesn’t want to sign a new contract and therefore could walk away for free in a couple of years. So a balancing act is going to have to be met if any deal is to be done and Manchester City will obviously do there best to drive the price down, I guess it’s going to be a case of who blinks first in terms of this Sterling deal.
So if we take that possible outlay of £40-50m for Stirling, that would be the 4th player for their quota living them with 4 more required. Now they could just buy 4 players on the cheap but then they wouldn’t really be like for like replacements for the names that have left and if that did happen there would definitely be a level of regression in the squad. After such a meek defence of their league title, City fans will not want to see them slip further behind Chelsea next season so the only way they can bridge the gap is by spending and spending relatively big. But as mentioned previously they could also be hampered by FFP.
Although Michel Platini has announced a slight easing of the FFP rules, it doesn’t mean Manchester City are free to throw money at whoever they can this Summer like they did at the start of the “project” hence a balancing act between quality and value is going to have to be struck in this transfer window. They are going to have to start buying a bit more clever but ultimately this will come at a price. What that price will be is yet to be discovered, but come next May will it be a price worth paying?