Four days ago, Mark Hughes was playing golf while the club’s new owners were trying to bring a Hollywood player to Eastlands. The Abu Dhabi investment group succeeded in their aim, bringing in Robinho for £32.5 million, a statement of intent if ever there was one.
Although it’s believed that they failed on several other fronts (Berbatov, Villa and Van Nistelrooy), The Guardian report the Manchester City manager is in a bullish mood after the takeover, claiming that he now has the spending power that he could only dream of at Blackburn. With money behind him, Sparky believes that the club can eventually eclipse the Premier League’s so-called ‘Big Four’!
“I did an exceptional job at my last club. I know I’m good at what I do and that’s not me just blowing smoke up my own arse. The difference is that there was always frustration at Blackburn because there were weaknesses that I couldn’t address due to not having the financial resources. There are weaknesses in my current team, too, but I’m in a position now to address them any time I want.
“The owners wanted to make a statement and we tried to make the kind of bids to make people think very seriously about letting players go,” said Hughes. “We didn’t just pick names out of the sky. These were players we thought there was a real possibility we could get. It was a really important day for the owners, they wanted to come in and make a real impact, not only on the people of Manchester but the entire football world. They wanted to get someone in that would make people sit up and take notice and, in the end, they did exactly that and got a great player through the door.”
But eventually Hughes sees City being “bigger than the Big Four” and he smiled when he was asked whether he had spoken to Sir Alex Ferguson since trying to sign Berbatov from under Manchester United’s nose? “No,” he replied. “It was the other way round, wasn’t it?”
Manchester City fans must be delighted that they have a manager of this calibre at the helm, although is it possible that they can get any bigger than United or Chelsea? After all, both of these clubs have some decent spending power themselves, and there are only so many world-class players who will be prepared to arrive at Eastlands.