Player purchases take City's debts to £50m

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The Independent Football

Manchester City's debts have increased to £50m after heavy investment in the team saw them retain their Premiership status last season.

City, whose wage bill rose from £24m to £35m last season, splashed out on Nicolas Anelka and Robbie Fowler in the year ending 31 May and were rewarded by finishing ninth.

The figures will raise eyebrows, coming afterLeeds announced record annual losses of £49.5m but City's managing director, Alistair Mackintosh, explained the debts were secured against the club's new City of Manchester stadium.

He said: "The debt is well-structured. Leeds' situation was different because there was no new stadium and the players were the security."

City made operating profits of £1.7m against losses of £5.9m in the previous year. But pre-tax losses rose from £13.9m to £15.4m after player trading.

Their overall debts increased from £30m after the chairman, John Wardle, and his business partner at the JD Sports group, David Makin, made a loan of £10m to fund signings. Existing debts were also refinanced.

Meanwhile, the fund management firm Lansdowne Partners has increased its stake in Manchester United to four per cent from 3.7 per cent.

On the playing front, Manchester City have targeted Norwich City's £3m goalkeeper Robert Green as David Seaman's successor. A swap involving Darren Huckerby, who is on loan at Carrow Road, looks likely.