They say that money talks, and Mark Hughes will certainly be hoping that this is the case during the month of January. He may be manager of one of the richest football clubs in the world, yet it matters not when there’s no possibility of signing any new players for another three months. Indeed, since the Abu Dhabi group bought the club, Manchester City have lost matches against Chelsea, Liverpool and Wigan, with a 6-0 thrashing of Portsmouth being the only shining light.
The Times reports that the Welshman will be jetting off to Abu Dhabi next month for a tete-a-tete with City’s owners, establishing what funds are available to spend, and outlining the players that he would like to acquire in January 2009. Top of the list appears to be a striker who Sparky is all-too familar with.
But after Liverpool inflicted City’s third defeat in their past four Barclays Premier League matches on Sunday, Hughes stated the importance of addressing the shortcomings of his talented young squad. Roque Santa Cruz, the Blackburn Rovers forward, will be the subject of a renewed third bid, while a left back and an experienced midfield player are among the manager’s other priorities.
“In the November break there will be a chance to go over and put our plans and needs to the Abu Dhabi group,” Hughes said. “We hope we will be able to spend in January. We will get better, but we are still a team with obvious frailties and we will work to address them when the window opens. What we need is that consistent level of performance and resoluteness to be able to see games out and take something positive from every game. At the moment we are struggling on that point, but we are a young team in terms of experience and development.”
The ‘obvious frailties’ weren’t in evidence during the first half of Sunday’s match against Liverpool, yet City seemed to run out of steam in the second half, not helped by the sending off of Zabaleta. Do Manchester City fans agree that a striker and a tough central midfielder should be sought, or do you think other departments need strengthening more?