Are Mark Hughes's signings in danger of being left behind?

Mark Hughes patrols the touchline during his time in charge at Eastlands. (Picture from Getty images)

With the ink barely dry on the David Silva contract, focus has now swiftly moved on to who will be next to arrive through the entrance door at Eastlands.

Yaya Toure, Edin Dzeko and Alexsander Kolarov appear to be the names most likely but all manner of rumour and speculation are gathering pace.

What this summers transfer business will likely illustrate is the very real progression that is being made at the club (the 'statement' signing of Silva particularly important) and despite a lack of Champions League football on offer, it is evident that the club now has increased pulling power.

What is equally clear is that with the ambition and determination of ADUG and their continued backing of the club, funds are going to continue to be available to enable them to pursue the goals and ambitions that they have for Manchester City.

The football off-season is generally a time for clubs to take stock, to re-evaluate strategies and targets. As a result, summer signings are generally a barometer of where a club is at that time - whether this be feeding on leftover scraps, a strategy of lofty ambition or an all out assault for silverware. City's transfers over the past few summers show just how steep a progression the club has undergone during the latter half of the past decade.

With Roberto Mancini now having won the long term backing of the powers that be, it is likely he could have something exceeding £100 million in funds (possibly more) over the summer to strengthen a squad that is hardly bereft of talent. The club is gearing up for success and this means big names, and of course, big money.

Critics of the club point to the devastating effect this sea change in strategy could have on the home grown players from City's proud (and successful) Academy. How will the future for the likes of Micah Richards, Stephen Ireland and Nedum Onouha be impacted, not to mention those on the cusp, Abdi Ibrahim, Dedryck Boyata and Alex Nimely to name but a few.

Mancini though is noted for giving youth its head. At Inter he spent big but not to the detriment of youth and both Mauro Balotelli and David Santon were both brought through the ranks during his time in charge. Already at City he has handed plenty of youngsters their debuts - and not only in meaningless game or garbage minutes at the end of games. 

Is it more accurate therefore to suggest that instead the likes of Richards, Ireland, Onouha et al being surplus to requirements, the signings brought in during the Mark Hughes tenure will be the ones that find themselves being left behind?

A list of Hughes's signings for the club is as follows:

 

Player Club Fee Stuart Taylor Aston Villa Free Gareth Barry Aston Villa £12million Roque Santa Cruz Blackburn £17.5million Carlos Tevez Manchester United £27million Emmanuel Adebayor Arsenal £25million Kolo Toure Arsenal £16million Sylvinho Barcelona Free Joleon Lescott Everton £22million Shay Given Newcastle £5million Nigel de Jong Hamburg £17million Craig Bellamy West Ham £14million Wayne Bridge Chelsea £12million Robinho Real Madrid £32.5million Pablo Zabaleta Espanyol £6.4million Glauber Berti Nuremburg Free Shaun Wright-Phillips Chelsea £9million Vincent Kompany Hamburg £6million Tal Ben-Haim Chelsea £5million Jo  CSKA £18million

 

When Mark Hughes arrived at the club, he instantly sought to change the mentality and approach that had been fostered during Sven-Goran Eriksson's time in charge, striving to instil a tougher approach and making the players more accountable.

2008/09 was very much a season of transition, with Hughes left with what he saw as some of the more unsavoury aspects of the Eriksson regime before gradually introducing his signings into the side over the season and then in the summer of 2009 when the chequebook was really opened and Hughes spent vast sums on Kolo Toure, Joleon Lescott, Roque Santa Cruz, Emmanuel Adebayor and Carlos Tevez.

When the 2009/10 season opened, it was now very much Hughes's side. His players. Although further signings were naturally expected, the assumption was that the backbone of a side that would challenge for trophies and titles was now in place.

As we stand some six weeks or so before the start of the 2010/11 season that assumption now looks to be wide of the mark.

Being charitable, you could absolve Hughes from the signings of either Ben Haim or Jo (although it is believed he signed off on them) but the overall list doesn't make for comfortable reading.

When aiming to build a side in a hurry, money is often thrown at players to try and accelerate what would be a more natural progression. History however may not be the kindest judge on the players that Hughes brought to the club.

Whilst there are already many (big money) flops, there are successes of course (Nigel de Jong, Vincent Kompany and Carlos Tevez look like sticking and being key cogs in the clubs future) but the likes of Emmanuel Adebayor, Gareth Barry, Kolo Toure, Shay Given, Joleon Lescott, Shaun Wright-Phillips and Roque  Santa Cruz, all players heralded as signalling the dawn of a successful City side when they arrived could all realistically find themselves on the outside looking in given the additions Roberto Mancini has already made, and those likely to arrive.

Whilst it is easy to dismiss big money moves given the riches the club has at its disposal, these players are on lengthy (and generous) contracts. They will not be easy to shift without City eating a large chunk of them.

Of course hindsight is very desireable tool to possess - and even easier to apply given that a new manager will come in with new ideas and his own targets - there are many signings that will go down as not just mistakes, but very expensive ones.

These players brought in were expected to form the backbone of a new side - not merely transitional players whilst club developed and the ‘stars' arrived - but how many will actually play a significant part over the next two or three seasons when the club will surely finally end the long trophy drought and new names are etched into the history of Manchester City?

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