With its failed January pursuit of an Eliaquim Mangala transfer, Manchester City finds itself in a potential fight with Chelsea and United for the services of the sought after center back. In a recent interview, Mangala asserted his preference for London and appeared to put Chelsea in a commanding position. Further, before he headed off to his Netherlands World Cup duties, Louis van Gaal reportedly added Mangala to his transfer wish list for United. To further complicate the scenario for the Citizens, Mangala also voiced his desire to delay any talk of a transfer until his own World Cup duties with France have concluded.
The 23-year-old defender is Manuel Pellegrini’s first choice as the new defensive anchor for the club. While enjoying the accolades from a Premier League championship, the Etihad club understands the need to press forward with stocking up on talent to stay at the head of the pack. After gulping on a purported £25 million transfer fee in January, the Citizens will likely need to fork over more this summer to secure Mangala’s transfer. With a UEFA penalty transfer spending cap of £49 million in place, Manchester City has zero margin for error. In order to obtain the rights to Mangala and Porto mate Fernando, also a target, the club would need to sell some of its own players. Javi Garcia is a candidate for departure in order to help balance the books if both Mangala and Fernando move to the Citizens for the reported £55 million total asking price.
With John Terry getting up in years, Chelsea’s Jose Mourinho needs to find a successor and Mangala fits the bill. Given that Mangala voiced his preference for Chelsea, City will have to work overtime to secure the transfer. David Luiz may be on the sale docket in order to help fund Chelsea’s effort to obtain Mangala.
While Lous van Gaal may ultimately feel more pressure to reinvigorate the Red Devils, he at least has several needs to fill and a giant budget. If the Old Trafford club misses on one target, they can take their bankroll to the next one. Pellegrini does not have the same flexibility. While van Gaal may not have the same £150 million summer transfer budget next year if the Red Devils nose dive again, at least for now the club is full speed ahead in a free spending mode to acquire talent. Manchester City will likely need to fend off both rivals in the transfer fight for the services of Mangala.
With the transfer spending cap and roster restrictions for Champions League in place, the Citizens find themselves in a tough spot. They cannot stand pat and watch their rivals improve. Also, as defending Premier League champs, they cannot add just anyone to the side. Manchester City has decided that Eliaquim Mangala is the right ingredient to the mix and they have to go all out in the transfer fight to get him, even if the battle is delayed until the World Cup is over.
Commentary by William Costolo