Manchester City set to learn if success has been achieved within Uefa Financial Fair Play rules

City slickers are in a formidable position - both on and off the pitch

It seems an eternity now since Manchester City's erstwhile chief executive Garry Cook sat back in the Pretoria winter sun on the club's pre-season tour of South Africa – a trip which involved meeting Nelson Mandela and telling the whole world that this club had arrived in the big time – and articulated the substantial gamble he was taking.

City would spend at levels that made no economic sense, he explained, back in 2008. Big revenues would never materialise until City got to the top and they intended to go for it. The fruits of the investment were there in all their splendour as City made West Ham United look like a feckless youth team on Wednesday night and, far more significantly, we are likely to discover in the next few weeks that their Abu Dhabi owners have achieved this without falling foul of Uefa and Michel Platini's Financial Fair Play rules.

Those rules, remember, decree that clubs must keep losses to an aggregate of €45m (£37.2m) across the 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons – and, having recorded pre-tax losses for 2011-12 of £98.7m last December, the club have had their work cut out.

But the challenge of complying – and thus avoiding exclusion from the Champions League – has focused minds at the Etihad more than any other task in the past few years. The calculations are complex but if, as seems certain, their 2012-13 losses are lower than 2011-12, they will be permitted to take out of the equation all wages for players signed before June 2010. That figure might total £60m.

And if you also subtract a notional £35m for spending on youth development, infrastructure and community projects over the past two years' accounts, which are deductible for FFP purposes, City would be left able to record a £50m loss for 2012-13, when they publish the numbers in the next few weeks – and still avoid falling foul of FFP.

"It would be hugely surprising if a club with as huge an infrastructure as Manchester City, preparing for FFP for as long as they have, failed to comply," said Daniel Geey, the competition and football law specialist at the firm Field Fisher Waterhouse, who has written extensively on FFP. "If they are outside of the €45m figure by a couple of million there is also no guarantee that they would be expelled. The arguments would then centre on the proportionality of the sanction."

It will be some achievement for a club who spent around £100m on players this summer. The new TV deal has helped but the key will have been the success of the long game they have played in ridding themselves of the wages of players who needed huge financial incentives to join City's "project", yet were then surplus to requirements.

Carlos Tevez's sale to Juventus last summer alone saved them £198,000 a week in wages, which would have added up to £17m across the remainder of his contract. The sales of Wayne Bridge, Kolo Touré and Roque Santa Cruz, weeks earlier, also allowed City to spend nearly £80m on Alvaro Negredo, Fernandinho and Stefan Jovetic.

The quality of Negredo's hat-trick against Sam Allardyce's hapless side underlined that he was the outstanding purchase of last summer and if that wasn't bad enough for a suffering Manchester United manager, the 28-year-old reflected on how he had passed up a move to Everton, then managed by David Moyes, last January.

"There were some rumours but I just wanted to finish the season with Seville," Negredo said, after taking his goal tally to 15 in 15 home games. "I wanted to wait until it got to the summer before I started looking at other options. I never really considered the possibility of moving in January." Everton had actually been unwilling to meet Seville's €15m asking price.

The beauty of the City manager Manuel Pellegrini's inheritance is that the blend of players is superior to last season's – Fernandinho is also beginning to make a huge impression – with a very well-established core. David Silva, delivering as consistently as any other creative player in Europe, has been at the club for three years now.

Pablo Zabaleta and Gaël Clichy are equally established, with old stager Vincent Kompany at the core. The only chink in the armour is that away record – four defeats in 10 league games on their travels – which led Kompany to suggest a few weeks ago that the side were examining how to replicate the entire home match routine when playing away from the Etihad.

The 59 goals in 15 home matches this season keeps up the remarkable average of almost four every game. The prospect of City playing equally well home and away is distinctly possible. If they manage it, there is no hyperbole about the notion that the title race could be over by early April.

Big spending city: Window by window

January 2009 £47m

Summer 2009 £123m

January 2010 £8m

Summer 2010 £128m

January 2011 £27m

Summer 2011 £79m

January 2012 £0m

Summer 2012 £38m

January 2013 £0m

Summer 2013 £93m

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
musicHunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original  manuscripts
News
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
New Articles
i100
News
John Travolta plays John Gotti in the upcoming 'Gotti: Three Generations.'
people
Life and Style
lifeAiming to show breasts in a non-sexual way for cancer awareness
New Articles
i100... while following the referendum
New Articles
i100... with this review
Voices
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
Life and Style
The designer Veronica Etro (right) and her models enjoy the closing moments of her show during the 2015 spring/summer collections at Milan Fashion Week
fashionVersace at Milan Fashion Week
Arts and Entertainment
Nick Frost will star in the Doctor Who 2014 Christmas special
tvNick Frost, Natalie Gumede and Michael Troughton step up
Arts and Entertainment
Matthew Beard, Ben Schnetzer, Douglas Booth and Jack Farthing in ‘The Riot Club’
filmReview: Sheer nastiness of Riot Club takes you aback
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

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week