x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Champions League-bound City to check their spending spree

Chairman says the club will not be repeating the flurry of transfer activity that has seen the club spend £350m on players since the Abu Dhabi takeover.

Khaldoon al Mubarak congratulates Roberto Mancini on winning the FA Cup.
Khaldoon al Mubarak congratulates Roberto Mancini on winning the FA Cup.

Khaldoon al Mubarak, the chairman of Abu Dhabi-owned Manchester City, says the club will be mindful of Uefa’s incoming Financial Fair Play regulations when conducting their summer transfer business.

City’s accounts for last season reported losses of £121 million (Dh718.7m), with wages 106 per cent of club turnover and, although revenue has improved, al Mubarak is acutely aware that City need to restrict losses to an aggregate of €45m (Dh235.3m) over the next three season, in accordance with the new guidelines being implemented by Uefa.

From 2015/16, the target will be average losses of €10m per campaign.
Many expect City, who have qualified for next season’s Champions League, to continue the kind of huge spending spree that has seen them part with £350 million (Dh2.08 billion) on players since Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed purchased the club in September 2008, but al Mubarak knows a repeat of that could lead to possible exclusion from European competition.

“You have to keep that in mind and we have done that,” al Mubarak said. “Now we are in a position where we are working towards financial fair play.

“Making it into the Champions League and winning the FA Cup will have very positive implications for the club. We are in a completely different position than we were in last season.

“The club has been managed very prudently. I am very comfortable, very confident with our financial operation and our understanding and the rules of Uefa.

“We are going to work along those guidelines and make that balance work for the benefit of the club.”
City have spent £250m on transfer fees alone in the past two summers, bringing in the likes of James Milner, Mario Balotelli, David Silva and Yaya Toure.

“It won’t be like last summer, or the summer before,” Khaldoon said in an excerpt from an exclusive interview which will be broadcast on the official City website, www.mcfc.co.uk, today.

“What you will see this year is strengthening the squad in areas that we feel require more depth. We don’t need quantity, as today we have quality. We just need a couple of players.”

The club ended a 35-year wait for a trophy by winning the FA Cup at Wembley on Saturday and al Mubarak wants that success to provide a springboard for future success.

“We have won the FA Cup, that’s great,” al Mubarak said. “But I believe there are a lot more cups to win – and we want to win the league. Now we are in the Champions League we need to perform and progress. It is a big challenge.

“Sheikh Mansour always felt it was always going to be year four as the year we were going to go for it.

“I am really delighted for him that we are now in a really strong position. I really had no doubts at the beginning of the season that we would be in the top four. I really did feel this was the year we were going to win a cup.

“I was very confident the team was progressing – I felt they were achieving that winning mentality.”
The dynamism of midfielder Nigel de Jong has been fundamental to their progress this season and the Dutchman said the squad have been galvanised by the cup success.

“Getting into the Champions League was our main target all season and we have done that step by step,” De Jong said.

“But the FA Cup has been special – the whole squad just loved winning that cup. That was the cherry on the pie.”

David Platt, the assistant coach, said before the FA Cup winning the first trophy is always the key one in building a successful era and al Mubarak said Roberto Mancini and his coaching staff have now fostered that winning habit at Eastlands.

“I feel strongly a winning mentality is coming into the team,” al Mubarak said.

“We have an incredible squad with so many talented individuals and a lot of heart in that squad. We have an incredible foundation for incredible years ahead.”

sports@thenational.ae