27 July ~ The recent Premier League rule change limiting clubs to a 25-man squad will be causing some managers a fair few headaches, not least of all Manchester City's Roberto Mancini. Since the Abu Dhabi takeover two years ago, the once quiet neighbours of Manchester have been doing their own impression of Real Madrid, staging their own galáctico revolution as they continue to stockpile the best footballing talent.
Players and managers have come and gone at an alarming pace but, with £82 million spent this summer and more players promised, City are in danger of becoming authors of their own downfall. They have 38 first team players currently on their books, 13 over the required 25. Although eight of these senior players are under 21, the manager will be forced to sell or loan at least eight first team players quickly as the new season approaches.
The current dilemma facing the club somewhat mirrors their previous experiences during the 1990s when no less than nine managers took charge of City. During this fractured time, the club played in three divisions and accumulated a massive squad on account of various managers bringing in their own players while not being able to jettison some who were already there.
Amid worries that City's unlimited financial power would effectively buy them success, the new rules will at least prevent them from simply accumulating players who would otherwise be regular first teamers with some of their rivals. As the rules come into force, Roberto Mancini may find that he has got more problems than he bargained for. Peter Lam