Writer: Johnny Baguette
Date:Sunday June 14 2009
While the majority of football's established 'experts' now give their thumbs up to European mega bucks deals, City's gaffer focuses on a realistic squad rebuild strategy...
The Blues boss is in bullish mood this weekend as his squad continues to take a distinctly English speaking, Premier League experienced shape.
Half of the City squad as it stands today have English as their mother tongue and with the addition of the rumoured to soon be Blues skipper Gareth Barry, Hughesy looks to be aiming for a side flooded with players able to communicate more readily, more familiar with the demands of English top flight football.
Rumoured inquiries over Roque Santa Cruz, Carlos Tevez, Joleon Lescott and Glen Johnson's potential signatures bear that strategy out.
Hughesy kicked off this weekend by weighing up the general European reaction to the massive Kaka and Cristiano Ronaldo transfers that have been so widely accepted by the critics who savaged City's name so readily for daring to try to sign Kaka back in January.
'It was interesting listening to Real Madrid president Florentino Perez and his reasons for going for Kaka. They were the same arguments that we used at the time we went for him.
'The difference is that nobody listened to our arguments. We made our pitch, we tried to make it happen but many people made capital of the fact that he didn't join us.
'I believe we have come through it. Sheikh Mansour and the chairman, Khaldoon Al Mubarak, have really conducted themselves with dignity. I think people realise that they are here for the long term. They are going to build the club in the right way on and off the field.'
There's very much an air of realism about Hughes' focus right now and clear signs of the famed siege mentality we hoped he would bring with him from Wales and Blackburn:
'Champions League football is a big thing for the top players because it raises their profile, and from a marketing point of view it enables them to earn more money.
'We have to pay a premium because we are not in the Champions League and are not at the level of some of the clubs competing in the transfer market. I accept that, but alongside that we feel we have something to offer in terms of a different challenge. If you come to Manchester City, you are at the start of something that we feel will be special.'
The City boss then went on to underpin City's angle of appeal the club is using to invite international stars to blend with City's Academy graduates and established mainly young players:
'If you come here and help bring this journey to its conclusion, then you would have stamped an indelible mark on the game in this country.
'We aren't like Chelsea when Roman Abramovich came in. They were already competing in the Champions League and reaching semi-finals, and they were in and around the top four.
'So far, we've had a negative reaction but we will just get on with it.
'We'll try to get marquee players if we can, but players we think we can realistically bring here. If we're not able to get those, we don't want to sign players for the sake of it.'
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Date:Sunday June 14 2009
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