Manchester City's desperate bid to assemble a Champions League squad in the aftermath of their Financial Fair Play problems has been laid bare by them offering a new deal to home-grown Belgian Dedryck Boyata, who has only started five games this season.
Boyata has been at City since he was 16, but with his contract running out had been one of the most likely players to be moved on. The 23-year-old was loaned out to Bolton but struggled to make an impression and then had a spell at Twente in the Netherlands, but has not started for City since the Capital One Cup semi-final win at West Ham in January.
City, however, are facing a Champions League squad reduction as punishment for failing new FFP rules and may only be permitted to name a squad of 13, rather than 17, foreign players along with eight home-grown names.
That has created a new need for players developed on these shores, like Boyata. With Joleon Lescott, Micah Richards and Scott Sinclair set to leave the club this summer, mustering eight who they can field in the competition looks a tall order. Director of football Txiki Begiristain said Barcelona's Cesc Fabregas is a player he would sign "in the blink of an eye" – and since the 27-year-old was home-grown at Arsenal, his appeal to City has increased.
They are in discussions with Uefa after the governing body questioned the validity of part of their revenue figures – believed to be the sale of image rights and intellectual property. They are also likely to receive a hefty fine.
The Independent understands the Premier League is awaiting the resolution of Uefa's negotiations with City before deciding if the club's fine should count towards its own FFP regime. The league's new rules state a club may only increase wages by £4m next season unless they increase revenue to cover a rise above that amount.
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