With the Court of Arbitration for Sport set to hear out Manchester City’s case against UEFA for alleged FFP violations, the question remains: how will this ban affect the club?
Financially, Man City will be losing out on roughly £63 million, a tenth of their annual revenue. This will leave the club strapped for funds (if that can be said about the City Football Group ownership). However, other factors come into play that can make this ban an easier pill to swallow than it would for other clubs living mediocrity in their respective leagues. For these middle tier clubs, the Champions League or Europa League are the most direct avenue for raising funds essential for the oncoming football calendar year.
Some players will look to leave for Champions League football and its glory, albeit, it would be very difficult waters to tread as there are several big names who have looked for greener pastures and have yet to find them,
Ronaldo and Neymar come to mind, name the most prominent ones. Champions League glory, whatever that means, is one that comes not only from perfect timing, but it really needs to have the perfect storm around the eventual champion: have the ties fall in your favour, injuries to others and not to you, some revelation player who has done next to nothing all year comes on and scores a hat trick in a half (Lucas Moura), have a hectic home atmosphere a la Liverpool, and of course, have some breaks go your way (yes Ramos, I mean you).
Leaving a club as successful as Man City has been in recent years would be at best, a gamble. In Guardiola, you have an evolving tactician who sets up his team for more wins than not. Player have at times disengaged because of demands he puts them under, however, the results are there, and those in turn, lead to bigger pay days for the majority of the players.
For those able to leave, few players can leave and be able to take a step up club wise. At this point in time, there might be only a handful of clubs that can be considered a peg above Manchester City. Even if La Liga head man, Javier Tebas and others deny it, Man City have become an elite club.
Of the sky blues’ players, De Bryune would be the ideal candidate to step in immediately for a top club like Real Madrid or Barca, if they had the funds and if City would be willing to sell, but if I was a betting man, my money would be that KDB stays, especially with David Silva reportedly stepping away. Others like Sterling or Aguero might look to step out of the Etihad pastures, but after having a somewhat down year, Sterling is no safe bet. Although aging, Aguero is a lethal striker, but he is slowing down and no club would be willing to pay his wages. Leaving is not a viable option, especially for a club that isn’t looking to sell. They could take a page out of PSG’s book on how they handled Rabiot’s desire to abscond. If we look at the player now, it didn’t work out quite how he envisioned.
Will Champions League be missed in Manchester? Not really.
Aside from Liverpool’s fascination with “la orejona”, there is really not much the Champions League has over the Premier League title, at least from this fans perspective. Fans might see the idea that no Champions League means a more focused and rested squad to wrench the title back from the Mersey Reds. Guardiola, for his part, might enjoy not being asked the question of when will he win it without Messi. A nice vacation from the Champions League might make the Blue side of Manchester feel more at ease.
Rebuilding takes buying power, and City’s will be reduced if the ban stands. The squad needs to be revamped, that is a given. Walker is looking past his best days and constantly a distraction. The “Magician” Silva is leaving and there are very few who could replace him. And then there is Sane, forcing his way out something that has been in the making for a while as a result of discontent over playing time, the latest injury and the player missing his home county. Better to leave to a club desperate for German blood and a deadly winger than duke it out for minutes with Mahrez and Bernardo.
Laporte will be like a new signing and Rodri will step in for an aging Fernandinho, so in essence, Guardiola’s side might need but a couple of pieces. A left or right back hybrid like Dortmund’s Guerreiro would be a perfect fit and a destabilizing winger like Coman of Bayern. Many of these season’s troubles would have been solved had they gone all out for De Ligt two seasons ago, but they missed out on him. These failures cost them this season, without Kompany and the injury to Laporte costing him most of the season.
The makeshift pairing of Fernandhino and Otamendi was a sad view on game days. This ban could direct their eyes to the academy where Phil Foden and Eric Garcia are waiting on the wings and by doing so prevent them from following the footsteps of Sancho, who could easily produce at the Etihad if more vision and patience was put to use.
No Champions League is a damning sentence, but mainly it’s for the eyes of the public.
Pundits saying that Man City cheated their way to the titles did not see the incredible football that was played on the pitch. Whether it’s true or not, City Football Group are seen as cheaters. Sadly this extends to all, players, managers, scouts, everyone in some strange totality of being part of an entity.
Let’s not delude football down to only the Champions League.
Well prepared teams win the leagues, streaky teams win tournaments.