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Manchester City is the Team Who Cried Wolf

Manchester City has cried wolf one too many times this summer, and have no new world-class star to show for it.

The Etihad by Dom Fellowes is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Manchester City is the Team Who Cried Wolf


Estimated Reading Time: 4 Minutes

Manchester City is fresh off winning the Premier League and losing their star striker Sergio Agüero to Barcelona. Pep Guardiola‘s squad isn’t short of attacking options, though. Even though they faltered and lost 1-0 to Spurs in their season opener, they went on to thrash Norwich and Arsenal 5-0 in their second and third respectively. That’s the City we know. But also against two sides that barely showed up to play.

The City we know also rose from obscurity via some oil money and got caught violating FIFA’s FFP (Financial Fair Play) policies. Even though they were caught red-handed, and slapped with a potential 2-year UEFA competition ban, they escaped scot-free. So pardon me if I can’t seem to feel bad for them at all as they can’t seem to land a single big fish in this summer’s transfer window. And please pray for me that I don’t have to eat those words.

FIFA and UEFA have proven that they don’t care about FFP. I mean, let’s be real for a minute. FIFA is the most corrupt organization this side of an Italian restaurant in Newark. That said, City is quickly turning into the boy who cried wolf. Though there’s a lot more money involved than Aesop likely intended.

I’ll admit that it’s hard to know what is legitimate and what’s fabricated by the English press. But what I do know is that three of the biggest names in world football were pretty legitimately linked with City this summer. And none of them have landed there.

Lionel Messi

It started with the Argentine superstar being linked to be reunited with Pep. Messi’s 21 years at Barcelona were coming to a bitter close – I have a conspiracy theory that I’ll publish soon, I promise. Everyone assumed City was going to be the destination. His contract was up, so he was coming in on a free. Sure, his wage bill is extraordinary, but a new challenge for the first time in over two decades alongside his former manager may have been worth taking a pay cut. It’s not like he needs the money. Needless to say, the blue side of Manchester never established themselves as a true contender and will probably whine about it.

Harry Kane

It’s no secret that Tottenham’s talisman is ready for a new challenge, and one that is nearly guaranteed to end in silverware. His brother/agent has given Harry some pretty piss poor advice this summer, and that nearly turned the Spurs faithful against their beloved prodigal son. The fact of the matter is Manchester City wanted Kane, and Kane wanted Manchester City. But City went and spent £100 million on Jack Grealish, therefore were unwilling to meet Daniel Levy’s £150 million asking price for Kane.

Tottenham was never shy about what it would take and also was very adamant that they didn’t want to sell their long-term striker. City was unwilling to meet that price, yet are trying to dress Levy down. As a Spurs fan, I have my issues with Daniel Levy. But he was completely upfront about this situation. It all led to Harry making the decision to stop pushing for a move and asking for a 6 figure raise to a £400k per week salary. I guess we’ll see how that goes…

Cristiano Ronaldo

The truest third strike for City was missing out on the 36-year old Portuguese. CR7 was not shy about wanting to leave Juve, and even said goodbye to his teammates before ever having a deal in place. All signs pointed to him going to City, but the club was unwilling to meet a €30 million asking price. That, to me, is absurd. Not quite as absurd as the £510k per week Ronaldo is demanding in wages, but still absurd. The best part of this is as soon as City faltered the tiniest bit, crosstown rival Manchester United swooped in with a €33 million bid to reunite with their former star.

Boo hoo

So here we are. Three weeks done, the transfer window passed, and Manchester City are playing the victim. Even though it absolutely wouldn’t have happened, they could have brought in Messi, Kane, and Ronaldo for a combined £180 million. And instead, they are left having not spent a penny and could enter September without a true out-and-out striker. If Spurs were able to keep a clean sheet against them in week one, the others in the top half of the table are likely to be able to figure it out, too.

But don’t let them fool you. City is a club going through turmoil, and they’re shooting themselves in the foot over and over. Aside from their lack of cashing in on world-class talent, they have a slew of other issues. The club is funded with dirty money, employs players who have broken COVID protocols by throwing sex parties, and one who has been charged with four counts of rape. They’re spiraling and they can’t spin the narrative. Nor should they be able to.

So yeah, it’s hard for me to feel bad for them and I hope they take a tumble.

Kevin is an actor, director, playwright, and musician who works in tech. He is die hard New England sports and an avid Tottenham supporter. His qualifications include scoring 1 point in his elementary school basketball career, 4 years of mixed little league results, and breaking his arm with a skip-it days before pre-season workouts started for Freshman football.

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