It is that time of the year again, the end of season presser by Manchester City and City Football Group Chairman, Khaldoon Al Mubarak.
In a tour de force presser, the Chairman spoke on strengthening the team, the two forwards City have signed, extending Pep Guardiola, Phil Foden and an ode to Fernandinho.
Let’s dive straight in-
On new signings
“I can confirm that there will be more players coming in [to Man City this summer].
“We’ve made two very important additions already [Julian Alvarez and Erling Haaland], but I anticipate we’ll be doing a couple more. We’ll try to go as fast as we can, but you know how the market goes. It’s not always entirely in our control.”
“Every big team in the world wanted [him] to join and we’re absolutely delighted that Haaland chose to join Man City. I think it’s a testament to all the great work that’s been happening at this club...”
“It’s a testament to the quality of this team, to Haaland not just being a great player but a very smart player that saw the potential of what he can do and how he can develop further professionally, being part of this team, coached by Pep Guardiola...”
“The physical infrastructure, training facilities, stadium, and more importantly, the fans. I think he has a connection to the fans. For us, it’s a super decision. We’re getting truly, a phenomenal player that will give us great memories.”
“We have in [Erling] Haaland, arguably the best number 9 in the world at the right age. In Haaland, we’ve invested in that striker for the future, and in [Julian] Alvarez we’ve found one of the most talented, young strikers in South America.”
On Pep Guardiola
“With Pep [Guardiola] and with this team it’s not just about filling a position. We’ve reached a level of quality, a standard in which we cannot and will not compromise. If we find the right player for that particular position, we will get that player...”
“If not, Pep’s shown he’ll find solutions within the quality of the group and the academy. We’re in a different position to the one we were in many years ago. We have so much talent available that when we need something, it’s very specific and deliberate...”
“If we’re able to bring that particular player, great, and if not, it doesn’t mean anybody can fill it. We are in a different paradigm from that perspective.”
“We’re enjoying every moment of it, we’re achieving great things together, and this conversation will be had at the right time, at the right place, and with the pace and time and framework that works for Pep.”
“It’s a partnership that has done wonders over the years, it’s a partnership that we’re approaching now its seventh year - next year is going to be another exciting chapter of this partnership...”
“Jack [Grealish] is, I think, one of the most promising, most exciting players in the world. A hard worker, incredible talent. Pep and the coaching staff are delighted with his work ethic, his numbers are good, he’s on the right track...”
“I think all of us, because of the standard we know he’s going to deliver, have high expectations. Let’s watch his evolution. I think next season, Jack will continue to improve and will be a very important player for Man City.”
“In the age groups between 8 and 23, Man City have over 200 players and 85% are local. When you look at all the records and success at every age group, it is happening while we’re developing our local talent base in the area…”
“A player that started as an eight year-old, now he’s 21 and he’s got four PL titles - there’s not many 21 year-old’s that have four Premier League titles. He’s played a huge part, particularly in the last two, as a 21 year-old.”
On owner, Sheikh Mansour
“You don’t need to put any extra pressure on Pep as he puts enough on himself for everyone. It’s the exact opposite; I try to bring back the pressure - I think he puts too much on himself. The pressure of not winning this or that, we’re all in it together...”
“Sheikh Mansour looks at the game, understands the game and understands winning and losing very, very well. That’s why his ethos, his philosophy is what I’ve tried to instil on this organisation and what we have had these last years...”
“We approach every season to win, every competition. That’s the mindset over the last ten years. The same in the UCL, the PL, FA Cup. We show up every game with full intention to give everything we have. You see the results.”
On Fernandinho, club legend
“The greatest thing that you can see with Fernandinho is what he’s accomplished with this club; five Premier League titles, six League Cups, and an FA Cup. This is a remarkable tally by any standard.”
“We’ve been lucky to have great leaders in this squad throughout the years, but certainly when Vincent (Kompany) left they were big, big shoes to fill. But I think Fernandinho stepped in, and you can see it.”
“The results in the two years that Fernandinho was captain, we won the league - look at this year, last game of the season, it takes a lot of personality, it takes a lot of leadership. Champions League finalist, Champions League semi-finalist.”
“He’s been a remarkable player, remarkable captain, remarkable leader, fantastic individual, and he will be missed by everyone in this organisation because he was that silent leader, always spoke with his actions, always was the good example for everyone, and particularly for the younger players and he’s been a great inspiration to all the young players in the academy and elsewhere.”
“Everybody looks up to him, he’s going to be dearly missed that’s for sure.”
A remarkable and honest conversation as these tend to be. Some good news being how well run the club seems to be, everyone is in sync from ownership down to the academy and everything in between. All top of the top and with an unparalleled infrastructure.
It’s what separates City from other clubs, total unity.