There is no trophy to ‘win the transfer window’ which is perhaps just as well for clubs trying to nab Manchester City, as the Premier League champions have already set a new standard for get business done this summer.
While many of their rivals continue to struggle to negotiate the ins and outs – Manchester United made just their second signing of the window on Friday and raised just £10m from player departures – City have been able to sign the hottest property in the world of football (Erling Haaland) and an established England international midfielder (Kalvin Phillips) and still find themselves with £26million in profit from their transfer deals to date.
Raheem Sterling’s £47.5million move to Chelsea this week, following the £45million deal that saw Gabriel Jesus leave the Etihad for Arsenal earlier this month, is the latest example of City’s ability to swap players for a big fee having already signed a replacement without breaking the bank to do so.
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Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur have invested well so far in this window, but both have spent far more than they have recovered. The same goes for Chelsea and Arsenal. United, meanwhile, continue to struggle to show any signs that they have a cohesive plan to rebuild the Old Trafford squad.
City, however, have now become so adept with their transfer deals, led by director of football Txiki Begiristain, that they appear to have reached the sweet spot not only when it comes to signing players at the right time for reasonable costs, but also for unloading. contracts at the right time.
When City’s rise to prominence began in 2008 after the club was taken over by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, balancing the books in terms of transfers was a distant dream for those tasked with building a team capable of winning at the top. level. In those early days, City embarked on what then-chief executive Garry Cook described as a “fast-track acquisition strategy” designed to accelerate their rise to Champions League participation.
In their first full season under Abu Dhabi ownership, in 2009-10, City spent £132m and raised £28m. The following year the gap was even greater, with £165m set up and £36m. This summer, however, it’s a different story, and it’s one that will worry all of City’s rivals, domestically and in Europe. In January this year, City recorded record revenues of £569.8million for the 2020-21 season, taking their annual revenue ahead of neighbors United for the first time.
United are set to reclaim the top spot in English club revenue this time around, due to football returning to normal after adapting to the COVID-19 pandemic, but City’s off-field growth has now made them a strength with to be reckoned with commercially and they no longer rely on the wealth of Sheikh Mansour to finance their ambitions. City rely heavily on the rich backing of sponsors and partners in the United Arab Emirates, but despite the bulk of their commercial revenue coming from the same region as Sheikh Mansour, none of these deals have been identified as breaching the Premier League and UEFA. party regulations.
Yet, as United have shown, huge earnings offer no guarantee of success. It requires smart operators in key positions to ensure a club’s success across the board, and City are now reaping the benefits of having some of the best in the world in those areas.
In Pep Guardiola, City employ arguably the best coach in the game, while Begiristain and general manager Ferran Soriano, both hired by chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak in 2012, have also earned a great reputation working together at Barcelona. In turn, Begiristain and Soriano have built a recruitment model that allows the club to identify top talent and deliver those players quickly and efficiently. And this summer is an example of how City’s recruitment model works as well as Guardiola’s squad.
Haaland was signed from Borussia Dortmund for just £51million due to City triggering the striker’s release clause. They beat competition from Real Madrid to sign the 21-year-old, who could become the club’s centre-forward for the next 10 years. If so, that would break down to £5.1million a year for potentially one of the biggest stars of the next decade. The deal for Phillips, 26, is another example of shrewd investment in a player who still has his best years ahead of him. By investing £14million in River Plate striker Julian Alvarez, 22, City have also taken a low-risk bet on a player seen as one of South America’s hottest young prospects. They even found time to sign a new reserve goalkeeper, taking on Stefan Ortega as a free agent.
City are still interested in Brighton & Hove Albion left-back Marc Cucurella, 23, but if they move for the Spanish player it’s likely they will have raised more funds by then. Oleksandr Zinchenko is expected to move on with both Chelsea and Arsenal interested in the Ukraine international. Nathan Ake, the Dutch defender, is another who has been linked with a move, although latest reports suggest he could stay at the Etihad for the coming season.
So far this summer, City have made a profit of £26million in the transfer market. And while deals with Sterling and Jesus generated the bulk of incoming funds, City somehow managed to raise £43.5m by offloading five players who have never played in the Premier League for the side. by Guardiola. Gavin Bazunu (£15m, Southampton), Romeo Lavia (£12m, Southampton), Pedro Porro (£7.2m, Sporting CP), Darko Gyabi (£5m, Leeds United) and Kou Itakura (4.3 £M, Dortmund) have all left City on a major fee this summer, and it all adds up.
If Zinchenko and Ake also come through the Etihad exit door, City could make over £70million in profit from their summer deals and will have done so despite adding Haaland and Phillips to the squad .
If City continue to win on the pitch and increase their income, turning a profit in the transfer market this summer only makes them more capable of beating their rivals against the best players and the biggest trophies in the years to come. .