Hughes rules out massive spend in future

Mark Hughes declared he would never again oversee the sort of mass changes that have swept through Manchester City in the past two trasfer windows.

Hughes has been by far the biggest summer spender, splashing out almost £120million on new players in a bid to strengthen his squad.

There had been talk of one last addition in the form of David Bentley, although a reunion with a player he helped develop at Blackburn was never high on the agenda, certainly not on a permanent basis as Tottenham hoped.

So, just as he pledged last week at the unveiling of Joleon Lescott and Sylvinho, Hughes resisted the temptation to bring out the chequebook once again.

With eight new faces, the City boss has enough on his hands trying to integrate them all into a squad expected to challenge strongly for a place in the top four.

The Blues have not done too badly so far, winning their opening three Premier League games and advancing into the last 32 of the Carling Cup.

However, Hughes realises such extensive surgery is not desirable, and, given the quality at the Welshman's disposal, neither will it be necessary in future.

"We won't be going into the market to this extent again," declared Hughes.

"There has been an unprecedented change in personnel.

"It was basically a process that should have been done over a three-to-five-year period but we have tried to make it happen in two windows.

"In future we will be looking to acquire players that will add value to the club and become great players at Manchester City rather than going out to the market and paying a premium because we need the players now."

Hughes revealed his rebuilding plans were hatched at a meeting with owner Sheikh Mansour and chairman Khaldoon al-Mubarak in Abu Dhabi last December.

By that time it had become clear the City squad just was not durable enough for the demands now being placed upon it, so Hughes received the green light to make the necessary changes.

High-profile targets did prove elusive as both Kaka and John Terry ultimately rejected advances from Eastlands.

However, the squad Hughes now has at his disposal is certainly one of the most extensive in England, packed with experience and quality.

"The vast majority of the team is in my design," he said.

"Someone put a graphic on TV the other day which showed all the positions in the team filled with my signings.

"We are in good shape now, as we have bought well, and are in a better position than we were 12 months ago."

It could also be argued that now there can be no excuses.

Victories over Blackburn, Wolves and Burnley may have maintained the feel-good factor around City generated by the wave of additions, notably Emmanuel Adebayor and Carlos Tevez, whose status as a man that rejected life at United means he is now a cult hero at his new home.

It will be matches immediately after the international break against Arsenal and Sir Alex Ferguson's side at Old Trafford that will provide a pointer to the progress City have made, and how much needs to be done over the coming nine months.

For Hughes, the man presented with an opportunity few, even in the top four, are afforded, it is a challenge to relish.

"It has been a really exciting time and there has been a huge amount of interest in what we have been doing," he said.

"That can be a bad thing but it can also be stimulating.

"We have all enjoyed the attention. It raises expectation but we have had that for nine months now.

"It is not something that fazes us. We are enjoying being where we are."