Hughes defends huge agent fees

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The Independent Football

Mark Hughes has defended the vast sums of money Manchester City have spent on agents over the past 12 months.

Figures released by the Premier League yesterday placed City top of the table for payments to the much-derided middle men.

Their £12,874,283 made up a substantial portion of the overall outlay of over £70million by England's top flight.

The position was expected given the number of players who have both arrived at, and left, Eastlands in the past year.

And Hughes admitted the outcome was predictable.

"If you do a lot of deals - and overall something like 35 were included - given the expenditure and the turnover of players involved, you would expect a figure like that," said the Welshman.

"There is a role that has to be met and, at the moment, agents fill it.

"Do they provide value for money? You have to base every deal on its merits.

"Sometimes you feel the agent has really done his job, on others you feel he is getting money for nothing.

"At times they can muddy the waters. Some deals can seem quite straightforward and then they become complicated at the end.

"On other occasions the deal goes through very quickly."

Agents have tended to be viewed as a necessary evil, especially in situations like Carlos Tevez, whose third party ownership by Kia Joorabchian caused so much controversy following his arrival in England.

It is still not exactly clear how much City paid Joorabchian to gain the player's registration but there is no doubt the deal would not have been possible without Joorabchian's involvement.

Hughes is taking action to ensure City do not rely on the use of agents quite as much.

Part of his root-and-branch reform of the Blues included a complete revamp of the scouting department which, eventually, he expects to pay significant dividends.

"Agents want to work with us - I wonder why," he pondered.

"We do a lot of the work that in the past agents have been able to bring to a club in terms of recommending players.

"Some agents will tell you they have the best player in the world. Now we can make that judgment ourselves because we have seen him 10 times. That has not always been the case.

"Without doubt I would say we are in a better place than we were 12 months ago."