Manchester City begin to rebuild and rebrand for future

Deposed champions arrive in US to unveil kit deal, talk players and announce a sister club

New York

Manchester City touched down in New York intent on building on their status as Abu Dhabi’s prime football franchise, in the week that Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al-Nahyan is expected to announce he has secured a deal to establish a Major League Soccer (MLS) franchise.

As The Independent reported last month, City’s arrival is timed to coincide with the expected announcement of a $100m (£65m) Abu Dhabi deal to establish the 20th MLS team, to be called New York City FC. There has been some resistance from locals opposed to the idea of a 13-acre plot of the Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, in Queens, being given to Sheikh Mansour for a nominal sum in return for the construction of a $340m (£220m) stadium.

But that is seen as no more than par for the course in this city. “You try and set up a lemonade stand here and some people will organise against it,” one observer said last night. New York’s outgoing mayor, Michael Bloomberg, appears to have won through in his attempts to ensure that the Abu Dhabi money is secured for the city.

The trip is about City, too. The club’s need for new revenues has never been greater and against the New York skyline today they are expected to announce a new, six-year kit deal with Nike, worth £12m a year. That represents a considerable increase on the previous deal, at a time that Manchester United are negotiating their own kit sponsorship tie-up, possibly worth up to £58m a year.

City are also understood to be making progress in their pursuit of the Napoli striker Edinson Cavani, as they seek to make their squad capable of winning back the title they relinquished to Manchester United. But no breakthrough is imminent with Napoli and uncertainty also surrounds the future of Sergio Aguero, which is hampering attempts to settle on a strike force for the 2013-14 season. Aguero’s split from his wife, Giannina, who is installed with their four-year-old son, Ben, in Madrid, has created the threat of Aguero leaving City for the Bernabeu after two seasons in England.

The concerns about Aguero’s intentions have put Carlos Tevez in limbo, with the Argentine one year away from the expiry of his City contract. The sale of Tevez would release £250,000 a week from the wage bill and help City to pay the wages required to make them the most attractive proposition to Cavani. But if City were to lose Aguero and Tevez they would be left virtually to rebuild their strike force.

City are not seeking to buy Radamel Falcao, despite Atletico Madrid’s declaration yesterday that they are selling. Monaco is almost certainly Falcao’s destination. The wait for Manuel Pellegrini’s appointment as first-team coach is also contributing to uncertainty for Tevez, though the creation of a squad for next season is progressing without the 59-year-old.

City have had an active interest in Cavani for several years, though his cost has always been a problem. The representative of the club who first met his agent was quoted €50m, at a time when City were telling agents that the days of them paying overinflated transfer fees to accelerate their progress were now over. He has a £52m buyout clause at the Italian club.

City play Chelsea twice in the next few days – in Saint Louis on Thursday and in New York next Saturday. The squad arrived to a noisy welcome from local schoolchildren – but also to a cover story about Wigan Athletic in the sports section of the New York Times, reflecting on a team “Lingering at  the Exit”.

There was no mention of the profile City are expected to command here this week – or their presence. All that may change when they have a sister club playing in the MLS franchise from the 2014-15 season. When Sheikh Mansour embarks on a project, he does not do it by halves.

All sewn up: Top kit deals

1. Real Madrid Adidas (until 2020) £28.5m per year

2. Barcelona Nike (until 2018) £26.3m

3. Liverpool Warrior (until 2015) £25m

4. Bayern Munich Adidas (until 2020) £23.6m

5. Manchester United Nike (until 2015) £23.5m

6. Chelsea Adidas (until 2018) £20m

7. Manchester City

Nike (until 2019) £12m

International

1. France Nike (until 2018) £36m per year

2. England Nike (until 2018) £25m

3. Germany Adidas (until 2018) £22m

4. Brazil Nike (until 2018) £21m

Arts and Entertainment
The first film introduced Daniel Radcliffe to our screens, pictured here as he prepares to board the train to Hogwarts for the first time.
booksHow reading Harry Potter helps children grow up to be gay-friendly
Sport
Frank Lampard will pass Billy Wright and equal Bobby Charton’s caps tally of 106 caps against
sportFormer Chelsea midfielder in Etihad stopgap before New York contract
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Aladdin is performed at the Tony Awards in New York in June
theatreBrit producer Lythgoe makes kids' musical comedy a Los Angeles hit
Sport
Usain Bolt of Jamaica smiles and shakes hands with a competitor after Jamaica won their first heat in the men's 4x100m relay
sport
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Chancellor George Osborne, along with the Prime Minister, have been 'complacently claiming the economy is now fixed', according to shadow Chancellor Ed Balls
i100... which is awkward, because he is their boss, after all
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux play teeneage lovers in the French erotic drama 'Blue Is The Warmest Colour' - The survey found four times as many women admitting to same-sex experiences than 20 years ago
filmBlue Is The Warmest Colour, Bojack Horseman and Hobbit on the way
News
Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleBenidorm actor was just 68
Arts and Entertainment
Preparations begin for Edinburgh Festival 2014
Edinburgh festivalAll the best shows to see at Edinburgh this year
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices