They may have blown almost £130m in the last transfer window, but Manchester City will not undertake another wild spending spree in the forthcoming one, according to club officials. Nor will they need to replace Carlos Tevez, who City are adamant will be staying, even if he loses the captaincy following his recent transfer request.
Tevez, who sat out the Europa League match in Turin on Thursday, is due to return for the home game with Everton tomorrow night and although he could lose the armband, the club insist that he will not be sold. "Carlos has said what he has said and the club has refused his request," City's assistant manager, David Platt, said yesterday.
"Through his advisor he has said that he would be available to play and will continue to give 100 per cent like he always does. There is no point in us being stupid about it – if Carlos Tevez is available to play, he is going to be in the starting eleven."
Last January, City spent only £6.5m in buying Adam Johnson and Patrick Vieira, saving their spree for the summer, when splashing out £128m on half a dozen players and taking £30m from sales. They were responsible for the four biggest deals by English clubs in 2010 when buying James Milner (£26m), David Silva (£25m), Yaya Touré (£24.5m) and Mario Balotelli (£23m). Aleksandar Kolarov (£19m) and Jérôme Boateng (£10.5m) also featured in the top 10. Net spending for the year was therefore more than £100m, following an outlay of £150m in 2009.
Trying to integrate many more players just as they are establishing a challenge for the title would make little sense and Platt said: "The manager is always looking to improve the squad but there is a business plan in place here. There are lots of things to take into consideration. For instance, in a couple of years or so Uefa's financial restrictions will come into play and make an impact. You also now have a 25-man squad and it has to be balanced. You can't carry a squad of 30 or 35 players any more. We won't be spending for the sake of it. It will be very much with the long-term future in mind."
The almost limitless funds have understandably created much resentment from supporters of other clubs, most of them delighted to see City squeezed out of a Champions League place last May by Tottenham.
Platt accepts that their players, management and staff must be prepared for some negative feelings. "Personally, I just think there is little we can do about the negativity that surrounds the club," he said. "We are now a big national story rather than a local one." All of which is preferable, he says, to being ordinary: "We just have to accept what surrounds us because the alternative is to be playing mid-table football, not be qualifying for Europe and for no one else to be particularly bothered about us. No one wants that alternative. I think the players are resilient enough to resist what is thrown at them."
Among the things they have had to deal with are a rash of stories, some well documented, about disagreements that have sometimes spilled over from the verbal to the physical. "There is a dressing-room full of people who want to win things and that spills onto the training pitch," Platt said. "Things have happened inside the club, there is a percentage of truth in what has been reported. But it's nothing I haven't seen before and at times, believe me, I have seen a lot worse. But we did go through a period when things were blown up out of all proportion and that was a little bit annoying. Look at the row that happened between Carlos and Roberto [Mancini] at half-time against Newcastle. It happened and you have to live with it. But it wasn't as intense as everybody made out. We have an industry which is devoured by the media and you half expect things like that to come out. Yaya Touré and James Milner had a spat on the pitch in one game and that's all it was. It was a tactical disagreement which finished there and then. What was frustrating was the misinformation which was leaked out."
It is a refreshingly mature attitude from someone who has been around the English game for a good while, and the same approach will be applied to the transfer tales that will doubtless mushroom over the next few weeks.
"We know there are going to be some crazy stories," Platt said. "BeforeI joined City I was working as a pundit for Sky TV and from the outside you think that City can do this and do that. Being inside, you know it's not a case of the owners having untold riches and the club going out and buying whoever they want."
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Nigel de Jong £17m
Craig Bellamy £14m
Wayne Bridge £12m
Shay Given £8m
Carlos Tevez £25.5m
Emmanuel Adebayor £25m
Joleon Lescott £24m
Roque Santa Cruz £18m
Kolo Touré £14m
Gareth Barry £12m
Adam Johnson (£6.5m)
Patrick Vieira (free)
James Milner (£26m)
David Silva (£25m)
Yaya Touré (£24.5m)
Mario Balotelli (£23m)
Aleksandar Kolarov (£19m)
Jérôme Boateng (£10.5m)