Why Man City must resist splashing fresh funds in January
As if Manchester City needed their coffers swelling anymore, the news that wealthy Chinese investors will now be pumping more millions into the Etihad club will surely produce a temptation to roll the chequebook out again when the transfer window opens next month.
If you’ve got it, flaunt it, would be one theory. It’s fair to say that two Premier League titles (and two second-place finishes) in four seasons is ample justification for this approach, not to mention FA Cup and League Cup triumphs.
Indeed, if you look at Man City’s net spend on transfers over the past five years, they sit top of that particular league table too.
Among the zeroes however, there is a consistency of keeping their sprees to the summer months.
Minimal mid-season spending
In the last four seasons, the only time that City have been tempted into a big-money outlay in January was last term, as Wilfried Bony joined up for £25m.
Before that, Costel Pantilimon, the goalkeeper who now plies his trade at Sunderland, was the only other mid-season arrival at the Etihad over the entire period.
The Romanian signed on for £5m on the very last day of the 2012 January transfer window, just a few months prior to the Citizens lifting their first Premier League trophy.
In Manuel Pellegrini’s glorious debut season the Chilean resisted any urges to flesh out a squad that had seen just over £91m invested in five players over the summer he took the reins.
There is a plainly obvious case to be made that rocking the boat mid-season is folly when you can do all your high-powered spending in the summer months, a hypothesis backed up by the seemingly detrimental effect Bony’s arrival had last winter.
Prior to the Ivorian striker joining the ranks Pellegrini’s side had gone 12 unbeaten in all competitions, winning 10 of those, before losing eight, drawing twice and winning only four of their next 14 matches.
While it’s perhaps unfair to lay blame solely at Bony’s door, the correlation is a little too strong to ignore.
Sticking to a plan that works
Heading into December 2015 and the Sky Blues sit top of the Premier League, albeit on goal difference, while they have advanced to the Champions League knockouts with two group games to spare.
Marquee summer signings Kevin de Bruyne and Raheem Sterling are flourishing arguably better than could have been expected too, while Nicolas Otamendi has impressed and Fabian Delph is showing encouraging signs after missing much of the season through injury.
Pellegrini is aware of certain flaws in his team, not least defensively, but there is by far enough world-class talent in his squad to ensure success in 2015/16 without tearing up a January blueprint that has worked so well for them.
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