Following Manchester City's 2-1 loss in the opening fixture of the UEFA Champions League Group Stage, it might be time to ask the question whether or not the quest of European glory is worth it for the Blues. At a time when English sides are becoming less competitive in the continent's elite club football competition than anytime since the mid 1990's, Manchester City's ownership have fixed Champions League glory as a club priority. But given the limitations of Financial Fair Play (FFP) which mean that Manchester City are highly unlikely to be competitive with the top 3 clubs in Europe (Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Barcelona) under any but the most fortunate circumstances, maybe a rethink is needed.
The Blues depth has already been severally tested this season with three youth players making the last the matchday squads in the Premier League. Thanks to FFP, City just does not have the depth to fight on multiple fronts with the same quality as the three clubs mentioned above. In addition, Manchester City faces a much more competitive and financially lucrative domestic environment.
While being competitive in the UEFA Champions League might be considered a litmus test of overall success in the elitist circles of football globally, from a pure financial standpoint, England's Premier League is a more lucrative prize. It is worth noting that the sides that the Blues have to compete with in Europe all come from leagues where the financial incentive to achieve success in continental football is GREATER than in those club's respective domestic leagues. The situation in England is the opposite.
Practical realities about the competitiveness of the Premier League are guiding considerations of many English clubs. While the media is concerned about England's dropping UEFA coefficient, the reality is for most clubs Europe has become a headache. This season the bottom five clubs in England's top division will earn more revenue from domestic play than the top five clubs in Italy, including Juventus who beat the Blues last week and made the UEFA Champions League Final in June.
I'm all for the joy., recognition and glory European success will bring City. I'm just not sure it is worth a huge fuss or elevation over the importance of the Premier League.