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

Voices
voices
News
general electionThis quiz matches undecided voters with the best party for them
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen starred in the big screen adaptation of Austen's novel in 2005
tvStar says studios are forcing actors to get buff for period roles
News
Prince William and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge show their newly-born daughter, their second child, to the media outside the Lindo Wing at St Mary's Hospital in central London, on 2 May 2015.
news
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before