City on target in transfer of power

Another week, another unveiling of an expensive new recruit at Eastlands; last month it was Gareth Barry, last Wednesday Roque Santa Cruz, and now Carlos Tevez is expected to be confirmed, if not paraded, in the next few days.

It is only four years ago that City's idea of a big summer signing was Darius Vassell for £2 million. Two years later, the ex-Thai prime minister Thaksin "Frank" Shinawatra did it his way (extravagantly) and Sven Goran Eriksson gave the agents a midsummer Christmas by splashing £40m on eight players from abroad.

Last year Abu Dhabi's late takeover and the last-minute acquisition of Robinho pushed the figure to £72m, which could be beaten by the end of August. "The chairman said we are looking to sign five or six players this summer and that still holds true," City's manager Mark Hughes promised at the unveiling of Santa Cruz.

With the Middle Eastern riches behind him, Hughes is in an enviable position, yet a tricky one. As Eriksson discovered, the price of failure, like the price of purchases, will be high. It is just as well he is a well-adjusted figure who in his public pronouncements steers the right course between ambition and fantasy. "We're pleased with where we are at this moment," he said. "We wanted to do as much business as we could early in the window. We've made a good start with Gareth and Roque.

"If we can continue to do deals quickly, we'll be in great shape for the start of the season. It's important for players as well. They like to be settled and understand where they're going on the first day of pre-season."

Supporters torn between concern and excitement that so many attacking players are arriving can be reassured, as Hughes says: "We know there are areas of the team we want to strengthen and those aren't just the attacking spaces. When I'm able to bring players in, maybe others will feel that their future lies elsewhere."

Hughes believes the first trophy City win will be hugely important, even if a Carling Cup is more realistic this season. "We're in a situation where, as a group and as a club, we haven't experienced that for a long time and the first one is the difficult one."

In the longer term, of course, he would like to be challenging Chelsea, Liverpool and especially the club from the other side of Manchester. "We want to get back to the days when we were challenging United for the same trophies on a regular basis. We're not there yet but that is the ambition."

Then Captain Sensible takes over again: "We're not going to put ourselves in the situation where we'll say this year we'll definitely be in the top four. Football is too fluid and unpredictable to start saying things like that, so we won't."

Arts and Entertainment
Lou Reed distorted the truth about his upbringing, and since his death in 2013, biographers and memoirists have added to the myths
musicThe truth about Lou Reed's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths
Ed Miliband received a warm welcome in Chester
election 2015
Life and Style
Apple CEO Tim Cook announces the Apple Watch during an Apple special even
fashionIs the Apple Watch for you? Well, it depends if you want for the fitness tech, or the style
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

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

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own