In their unrelenting attempts at achieving world domination, Manchester City have revised their transfer policy ahead of a busy summer of shopping.
Previously the Citizens’ modus operandi was ‘buy any superstar whom you can get your hands on’, but this avaricious and extravagant approach to recruitment was curtailed by UEFA’s financial fair play regulations.
With stricter constraints imposed upon them, Manuel Pellegrini’s men were unable to spend with such carefree abandon this summer and, as a result, have conceded ground to their domestic rivals, namely Chelsea.
The Blues are considerable favourites to overthrow Man City as Premier League champions, with the reigning kings massive 7/1 shots to regain their crown.
In order to close the quality gap between themselves and Jose Mourinho’s side, Sheikh Mansour’s billions are sure to be spent en masse this summer.
But injecting quality isn’t the Citizens only concern; they also have a shortage of home grown players in the ranks.
Improving in both respects is key to their pre-season plans, which is why moves for Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere and Ross Barkley of Everton, as well as West Ham left-back Aaron Cresswell are being mooted in the weekend press.
Valued around somewhere north of the £60m mark combined, City’s interest in the former duo should be welcome news for Gunners and Toffees fans the world over.
Ever since City emerged as fiscal force to be feared, Arsenal have had issues with the Etihad club cherry-picking their prized assets, with Emmanuel Adebayor, Kolo Toure, Samir Nasri, Gael Clichy Bacary Sagna all leaving north London for pastures sky blue.
Wilshere, however, is nowhere near as indispensible as this quintet once was.
The perma-crocked England man was made the poster boy of Arsenal’s new business model focused on developing British talent, but has struggled to realise his once-massive potential following a 17-month injury absence that began before the 2012/13 campaign.
In addition to his questionable physical condition, Wilshere has also been involved in plenty of off-field misdemeanours, namely to do with cigarettes and alcohol.
But, ultimately, it’s difficult to argue how the 23-year-old improves the Arsenal team when fit.
It’s fair to say he isn’t included in their first-choice midfield trio, with Mikel Arteta the mainline anchorman and two of Santi Cazorla, Aaron Ramsey or Mesut Ozil occupying the advanced berths on the rare occasions Arsene Wenger has a fully fit squad to select from.
With just one goal and one assist so far this term, the opportunity to make £30m on a player who almost certainly wouldn’t be missed is one the Gunners can ill-afford to squander.
The case with Barkley is slightly different.
Everton value the precocious talent highly and rightly so, yet he is struggling to carve a niche in Roberto Martinez’s plans as the Merseysiders continue to struggle.
Barkley has played in five different positions this term and reaped little rewards from any.
Like Wilshere, he has also got just a single Premier League goal and assist to his name.
Such stats indicate he’s hardly integral to Everton’s aspirations for success.
A better way to utilise Barkley’s talent, as opposed to trying him out in myriad different positions to no avail, would be to sell him to Man City.
The big money he’d bring in could then be reinvested in bolstering the playing staff, with their greater need for strength in depth made abundantly clear from Everton’s toils this term.