For a time yesterday, it appeared that Manchester City were going to pull off a multi-million-pound double-deal to inflict a huge blow to those sides looking to beat them both domestically and in Europe.
With talk of a swoop for FC Porto pair Eliaquim Mangala and Fernando, it appeared Manuel Pellegrini was going to emphatically address arguably the only areas of weakness in the current Blues’ squad, bringing in an imposing and extremely gifted centre-back to play alongside Vincent Kompany and a midfielder a cut-above the likes of Jack Rodwell and Javi Garcia.
But in the end the deals failed to materialise, with the Manchester Evening News claiming that was due to the Portuguese side’s asking prices – reportedly £34million for Mangala and £12million for Fernando.
Given that the latter is out of contract in just a few months, that is certainly a hefty price-tag, but with Magala's reported release-clause at £42million, it could be argued that City were actually getting the Brazilian for just £4million.
Of course just because a club has money that does not mean they spend out without thought, and a £46million outlay mid-season – when things are going so well already – may have been a tad unnecessary.
But what about the bigger picture? Fernando may duly arrive for free next summer but he could just as heavily head elsewhere – to Old Trafford perhaps? And similarly Manchester United have been heavily linked with Mangala in the past, and will have surely breathed a sigh of relief when the Frenchman did not rock up at the Etihad Stadium on the final day of another anti-climactic transfer window.
It is all ifs, buts and maybes, but if David Moyes wants players who can undeniably strengthen his club’s weakest areas, he would be wise to move for both Porto players (if the likes of Arturo Vidal and William Carvalho remain unattainable).
You can rest assured United will spend big next summer, and only then will it be revealed if City should have spent big first – to build a squad that would render any transformation at Old Trafford ineffective.
image: © superleagueformula