Tag Archives: Mark Hughes

January transfer advice, Manchester City edition

Don’t do it, Sparky!

And by “it”, I mean spend hundreds of millions of pounds in the January transfer window. There are numerous reasons why that is a bad idea, the most important of which is that there is very little time to integrate a number of new players. That’s why it’s important to buy players in the summer and give them time to work out with their team. So, my advice to Sparky is this: don’t spend a buttload of money just because you can.

The template for elite development has always been Arsenal. Under Arsene Wenger, that club typically spends far less on players than Manchester United and Chelsea while still remaining competitive. No, they haven’t won anything for three years but there they are, near the top of the table, every year.

Why is this? It’s Wenger’s amazing worldwide system of scouts combined with his ability to spot talent. Other managers can see talent at 20 or 22 but Wenger sees it at 15 or 16. And that’s how he remains competitive. He’s even spawned a few imitators, from the successful (Everton) to the laughable (Newcastle).

What does this have to do with Sparky? A lot. I think he’s a very good manager and, while City isn’t as good as I thought it would be, I think he’s the man for the job. So he needs to resist offering 60 million pounds for John Terry or 100 million pounds for Kaká and, instead, find players who are useful and fit his system. In the US parlance, find a couple of glue guys, especially on the backline, to shore up your team. Take the next 6 months and find 2 or 3 players you want to sign, and who fit your system, and bring them in.

And, in the process, if you make me look good, that’d be awesome, too.

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How to take Manchester City seriously

That sound you’re hearing? It’s Arsène Wenger and Rafa Benítez hyper-ventilating into the nearest paper bag, wondering which of them will be left out of the top 4 in the Premiership next May and, as a result, out of the 2009-10 Champion’s League. Honestly, I don’t know if Arsenal’s team of infants can put up the points. Of course, Liverpool are pretty consistent chokers of late so there’s that, too.

But that’s not the point. The point is that Manchester City is now the richest club in the world because its brand new owner, Dr. Sulaiman Al-Fahim (who’s not only a doctor but royalty), has far, far more money than even Roman Abramovich rolls around in at night. There has been wild speculation about bids for Cesc Fàbregas, Fernando Torres, and Cristiano Ronaldo (who might be the subject of a 135 million pound bid [that’s $237,117,148.26 USD, kids]) in January. But, for a myriad of reasons, none of those are going to happen, the first of which is that they’re all cup-tied now and there is no way even the Arse and Pool will be steamrolled by City, let alone United selling to a bitter rival. So feel free to ignore the blustery new owner.

No, the reason people have to take Manchester City seriously is Mark Hughes. Sparky is, actually, a really good manager. He knows exactly what he’s doing. No, he doesn’t have a reputation for managing mercenaries, like José Mourinho (who is also a really good, if somewhat boring, manager – I’ll say that now that he’s not in charge of Chelski). But what Hughes does is fit people in. And, boy, does he have some good pieces: Vincent Kompany and Micah Richards on the back line; SWP and Nery Castillo (if he’s ever found) in the midfield; and two mercurial Brazilians up top – Jo and Robinho. With Sparky at the helm of the good ship City and those fine gents manning the oars, I daresay City is destined for the top 4.

Predictions, then:

  1. Manchester United (even though Peanut Head is still there)
  2. Chelski (even though they have 2 of the biggest d-bags in the world – Anelka and Ballack)
  3. Manchester City
  4. Arsenal (and the deep in debt board breathes a massive sigh of relief)
  5. Liverpool (chokers!)

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