In a move that might indicate that the Big Four is about to become the Big 5, Manchester City smashed the British transfer market record with the £32.5million purchase of Robinho from Real Madrid.
I wonder if Chelsea fans who bought the Robinho shirts from the Chelsea web site this week will get their money back?
It was a busy day at Eastlands that began with the news that a takeover by a United Arab Emirates business group was ending former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra’s brief ownership of the Premier League club.
Abu Dhabi United Group (ADUG) wasted no time showing Mark Hughes the money as City made a £34m bid from Tottenham striker Dimitar Berbatov. When that deal failed to materialize, City turned its attention to Real Madrid who where a little pissed off at Chelsea’s approach for Robinho. Madrid’s response to Chelsea’s tactics is a little like calling a kettle black after their summer long tapping up of City rivals Cristiano Ronaldo.
Nevertheless, City had no problem with Madrid’s valuation of Robinho and suddenly the Brazilian star was on his way to Eastlands.
As fate would have it, City’s first opponent after the international break is Chelsea at home. That game should mark the home debut of both Robinho and former Chelsea winger Shaun-Wright Phillips. Buy Manchester City – Chelsea Tickets
In announcing the purchase of City by ADUG, the official statement on the takeover referred to the ‘qualification of Manchester City to the European Champions League (for) next season 2009-10’. This would indicate that funds will be available Mark Hughes in the January transfer window to do an Abramovich and raid the best players in Europe.
Two days ago City were part of a group of teams like Aston Villa, Spurs, Everton and Portsmouth who are all below the big four, but don’t have the funds necessary to buy big to really mount a challenge.
In the midst of a credit crunch that has reduced Liverpool’s ability to buy, and with Arsenal’s unwillingness to buy big, the gap is now open for Manchester City to join the big four.