Money talks for Mancini and City
Roberto Mancini is a shrewd man. He’s clever enough, of course, to have masterminded Manchester City’s title triumph last season.
It was a rollercoaster ride last season, with the mind games, big money signings and his handling of bad boys Carlos Tevez and Mario Balotelli.
In the end only one thing mattered. The Premier League trophy was in the blue half of Manchester.
Mancini may well have thought Sheikh Mansour’s riches had finally dried up, due to his side’s impotence in this summer’s transfer window.
Although that’s how it might have appeared to the outside world. Perhaps it was the latest Mancini mind game.
Up until transfer deadline day, Everton’s Jack Rodwell was to provide the only new face in the ranks. City were still sitting on their chequebook, waiting for a moment to begin their own spending spree.
With less than 12 hours to go and transfer deadline day well and truly in motion, it was all change on the footballing merry-go-round and Mancini’s men were right in the melee.
Having let a few decent players go, the Eastlands club were looking to revitalise a diminished squad.
With the signature of Scott Sinclair assured, City went in search of more deadline day deals to suffice the thirst of transfer-hungry fans, having been starved for most of pre-season.
City spent big on deadline day
By the 11pm deadline, three new faces had arrived.
Inter Milan’s Brazilian right back, Maicon, Fiorentina centre back, Matija Nastasic and Benfica midfielder, Javi Garcia. had been seduced by the Premier League champions.
Maicon, part of Jose Mourinho’s treble-winning Inter side from 2010, is a vibrant right back, who will provide plenty of attacking options for Mancini.
A solid, if not slightly extravagant signing with Pablo Zabaleta and Micah Richards also reliable fullback options.
19-year-old Nastasic is being touted by many as the "new Vidic" but after the disappointing input of Montenegro's Stefan Savic, who swapped Manchester for Florence last week, only time will tell.
Spaniard Garcia will fill the void left by Nigel De Jong in the heart of the midfield and will also supply vital cover for Yaya Toure, who will be absent throughout January and much of February due to the African Cup of Nations.
After the Premier League winners were handed a nightmare Champions League draw for the second season running, they know extra strength-in-depth is required, in order to challenge on all domestic and European fronts this year.
Real Madrid, Bundesliga winners, Borussia Dortmund and Dutch champions Ajax all lie in wait for City in their “Group of Death.”
Almighty scrap between city rivals
What looked to be a modest summer for the blue half of Manchester was salvaged in typical Manchester City fashion. If in doubt, the chequebook comes out.
Manchester rivals, United have spent soundly with the addition of Dutch maestro, Robin van Persie and the superb Shinji Kagawa from German champions Dortmund.
The pairing of Van Persie and Wayne Rooney seemed to be inspired business but with Rooney’s two-month injury lay-off and talk of Old Trafford turbulence between the former Everton striker and Sir Alex, things might not be so rosy in the United garden.
Such controversy surrounding the Englishman has been seen before however, so write him off at your peril.
The Red Devils won't be too concerned if Van Persie continues his exquisite form throughout this campaign though.
The 29-year-old has found the net four times already, continuing where he left off at Arsenal.
United’s noisy neighbours know they’re in for an almighty scrap to retain the Premier League title this season.
Nevertheless, having amassed seven points from three tricky games, it’s going to be hard to stop Mancini’s mercenaries from reaching the summit for the second year running.
By Tom Sharp
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