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."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest in Sport
Sport
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

Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test