Champions of the checkbook? No chance; title winners Man City a real football club


COMMENT: It was not a bigger budget. Neither great players. Manchester City have won a fifth Premier League title in ten years this week just because they are doing things better …

A real football club, run by real footballers. There is no better compliment you can give this season’s champions. And it rings true. This city team is a champion team. There is no great spring. Person of big winner of the match. The staff and team can complain that City players are missing out on the individual year-end awards, but they should take it as a compliment. It is a real football team, where no player is above the other.

And this is the culture that has been ingrained throughout the club over the past decade, especially in the later years of the Pep Guardiola era.

Yes, City has spent – and spent big. But they never took part in the auction. The success of this season’s squad has been built on the ability of the club’s recruiting team – and their contacts – to simply do things better.

No one could foresee the impact of Ruben Dias when City first announced their arrival from Benfica last summer. The year before, it was Rodri of Atletico Madrid who would join in with a bang. And before him, a young fullback, but a companion, in the form of Joao Cancelo was also recruited. Good players at the time. Good reputations. But not the drummers of the world.

But look at them now. Their performance. Their consistency. And their contribution to the culture that now crosses the Etihad campus. Scouting ; the homework City did on all three players turned out to be better than their peers. City landing the trio virtually unopposed. However, no one doubts their qualities anymore.

City could have taken the auction route. They certainly had the resources. But that didn’t fit the culture Guardiola and his superiors Ferran Soriano and Txiki Begiristain wanted to develop.

City could have outbid Liverpool for Southampton center-half Virgil van Dijk but did not. They could have done the same with Leicester City captain Harry Maguire ahead of his move to Manchester United. Once again, they stayed away. It wasn’t City who broke those transfer fee world records.

Guardiola and Lillo exchange views in City’s dugout canoe

Instead, Guardiola and co just found another way. As the manager said when asked about Maguire: “He’s a great first-class player. We were interested but couldn’t afford it.

“United could afford it. Congratulations to United.”

“Congratulations”, but we have moved forward. Two transfer shots in the space of 18 months, but City didn’t hesitate. The transfer policy was not suddenly ripped apart for a Galacticos approach. They just made it better. More concentrated. And were rewarded by a team of players who reflect their manager’s approach to life.

Which is also reflected by the man who sits next to him in City’s dugout canoe. Again, just like those few deals with the players, Juanma Lillo arrived at City with little to no press. Tempted to leave China after a personal call from Guardiola, Lillo’s fingerprints are all over the success of this campaign. But in terms of profile, in England at least, it’s non-existent.

It’s about football. Systems. Reasons. Lillo’s approach again just like that of the manager. Indeed, as his assistant hesitates to discuss his influence on a potential triple win season, Guardiola has ensured that City fans know the impact the Spaniard has had on their club.

“His knowledge of the game is overwhelming. He sees things that not many people in the world, including myself, are able to see,” said the City manager, acknowledging that his No.2’s calm contribution was crucial to the start of the season when his team appeared in crisis. .

“It’s a different year. You have to be more patient and Juanma helps me a lot to be patient. He has said to me several times ‘this is going to change, everyone is going to lose games’.”

Good people. Good experienced footballers. All with the confidence of knowing what works in this industry and what brings success – supported Success.

That’s why Phil Foden is where he is today. Slow combustion if there is one, the same experts who predicted Guardiola to have retained the midfielder. Urging the boy to leave City for the sake of his career. Well, there are no excuses, but it is recognized that Guardiola’s methods – and those of Txiki and Soriano – have done wonders for Foden’s progress over the past 6-8 months. The emergence of the England international this season is a triumph for City’s calm and measured development plan.

And it is this calm that will never see the management being held in suspense by the agents – or the parents – of their trainees. City have lost talent in recent years. Great talent. Potential losses of over £ 100million. But again, they didn’t waver in their approach.

Jadon Sancho is long gone. Just like Javairo Dilrosun, Jayden Braaf and Jamie Bynoe-Gittens. But there was no rethinking how to handle such potential by looking elsewhere. Instead, the road is drawn and the rest. Where Sancho didn’t want to, Foden loved him. Braaf and Bynoe-Gittens? Think Cole Palmer and Liam Delap.

As mentioned, it has been laid for a long time. From the academy to the technical staff, including the first team, City trusts its approach. A conviction that has been generated by decades of experience and know-how.

This season’s title winners are not about big names, or big budgets. It’s just a club, a real football club, that just does things better.

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