Fresh off its Premier League championship, Manchester City is seeking to add some fresh talent to the mix to remain on top. While the Blues still await final word on UEFA sanctions, the Blues enter the summer transfer season on a mission to stay ahead of the pack by infusing the club with some new blood, but not too much. Included in the Manchester City push to remain champs is Manuel Pellegrini’s pursuit of Porto midfielder Fernando, a prime transfer target of the club.
The club tried to secure both Fernando and Porto teammate Eliaquim Mangala in January and is said to have offered the Portuguese club £40 million for both. Fernando signed a new contract with a £20 million buyout and will most likely be the first target for a second run at the Porto players by City. Fernando’s agent, Antonio Araujo, says that the Octopus is ready to give the Premier League a shot now. After securing a transfer of Fernando, the Citizens will likely try to use that momentum to move Mangala over to Etihad Stadium as well, although at a higher price tag.
City is currently fretting over possible sanctions by UEFA stemming from financial fair play rules violations, which the club says were a technicality of failure to write off the wages of players signed prior to announcement of the regulations. The organization offered the Blues a penalty of £49 million payable over three years and a reduction of roster size in Champions League play from 25 to 21 squad members, including eight home growns. City has expressed more concern over the roster size hit than the financial penalty. The team has appealed the sanctions and awaits word over the results. The final outcome may be delayed due to the death of Jean-Luc Dehaene, the UEFA official in charge of the investigation. Although no team welcomes a potential financial penalty, the deep pocketed City club bankrolled by Sheikh Mansour is not in panic mode. Manchester City is still looking to make major moves in transfer season in order to keep the team stocked, including a push for Fernando.
Earlier rumors regarding a potential Lionel Messi mega deal appear to be overblown. While not in need of offensive help, the ability to add a generational talent such as Messi must always be explored. In all likelihood, City will add quality without a major splash such as a Messi acquisition.
Everton and the Red Devils were also rumored to have an interest in Fernando, but the United interest is currently unclear after the sacking of David Moyes. Agent Araujo says that other clubs have also contacted him about the 26-year-old Brazilian, although which teams and any financial parameters discussed remain unclear. Stout and rugged enforcers with skill will always be in demand, but the Citizens do not appear to part of a bidding war.
Manchester City appears the strong front-runner in the push for a Fernando transfer. The club has only a couple of defensive holes to fill in order to remain a Premier League favorite. The Blues also hope that if Fernando comes to them, he can be joined by 24 others in Champions League play by avoiding UEFA sanctions.
Commentary By William Costolo