Other clubs take note - the days of being held to ransom for players is over and City’s stance on the Marc Cucurella deal is evidence of that.
The blues valued the Brighton defender at nothing more than £40m, yet Brighton were holding out for £50m+ for a defender that has spent one season in the Premier League. And City’s decision to walk away from a deal was correct.
In months following ADUG’s takeover of the blues, some clubs thought it would be possible to charge through the nose for certain players. And City were then happy to pay it. They needed stability and players that would take an average mid-table side to the upper echelons of the Premier League.
City allowed themselves to be exploited because they had the money and wanted were desperate for the players. It’s a practice that has happened time and again in football. Even City themselves participated in the ritual when mega-bucks Chelsea came along to sign Shaun Wright-Phillips back in 2005.
The blues were blasted by then Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger for accepting Chelsea’s high offer of £21m, a record income for City at the time. Wenger was on the hunt for SWP and thought a deal was in the bag. However, Chelsea came knocking, the price increased and the West London side were happy to pay it. That caused the French manager to claim there was one price for Chelsea, one price for everyone else, and that turned out to be the case for City.
However, despite the blues needing a permanent left-back, they have taken a hard-line over excessive fees, just like they did last year with Harry Kane, and how they have done now with Cucurella.
Spurs allegedly wanted £150m for the England captain and refused to consider anything lower. City desperately needed a striker to take over from Sergio Aguero but wouldn’t entertain the ridiculous fee from the North London outfit. Instead, they waited a year, won the Premier League without a recognised striker, then signed a younger Erling Haaland for £100m less.
Now, Cucurella looks to be on his way to Chelsea for £50m+ and, if City don’t sign a left-back, it will be of no great concern. Yes, Oleksandr Zinchenko has joined Arsenal, however, City played Joao Cancelo at left-back more than the Ukraine star last season, with Aymeric Laporte and Nathan Ake more than capable of filling in if necessary. In addition, the blues have until 1st September to sign an alternative. If they don’t, the blues still have enough resources to cope without.
But it’s good that City are now enforcing this stance and will not be held to ransom by other clubs, who consider selling players to the blues nothing more than an opportunity to boost their bank balance, then accuse the blues of ruining football by paying ridiculous amounts for players.
City’s recruitment has gone well this summer, despite not getting Cucurella and the message over the last two summers is now loud and clear:
Manchester City will no longer be held to ransom.