Pellegrini's chance at a lasting City legacy

It’s a bizarre world we live in when a team worth $2.58 billion is considered the underdog. Then again, this is the Champions League.


Source: Getty Images

Since Manchester City were purchased by the Abu Dhabi United Group in 2008 they revamped the club, tweaking every aspect from the youth team policy to club crest, stadium name and football philosophy.

It took four managers, 72 new players and $1.8 billion on transfers for City to get here.

Most expensive transfers during the Abu Dhabi Group era

Name                                  Cost

1. Kevin de Bruyne          $103 million

2. Sterling                       $82 million

3. Mangala                      $74 million

4. Aguero                        $71 million

Forgotten 4 of the Abu Dhabi Group era

Name                                   Cost

1. Jovetic                          $65 million

2. Negrado                       $37 million

3. Jo                                 $33 million

4. Santa Cruz                   $31 million

City are continuing as one of the rising stocks in global football and this season their presence on the big stage has finally been felt. A semi-final tie against Europe’s most successful club, Real Madrid, awaits them on Wednesday.

Nerves are jangling, excitement is overwhelming, yet optimism remains bleak. The Citizens have made history in reaching the UCL final four but pundits can only see the next round swinging in the Spanish Giant's favour. The motivation of Manuel Pellegrini is underestimated.

The Chilean’s team remain on track to finish at the head of last season’s top four yet it takes a telescope to spot Leicester at the top as they sail away with a 13 point gap. Inconsistency has been at the heart of City’s problems with previous stand-out players like Yaya Toure failing to replicate the form that guided City to their first league title in 44 years during the 2011-2012 campaign.

At times, even manager Pellegrini looked like a quivering captain going down slowly with his ship. A 3-0 hammering against Liverpool and a 1-0 loss to rivals Manchester United proved far from inspiring for the dead-eyed Sky Blues chief.

But after the UCL quarter-final victory over Paris Saint Germain, a burning passion, power and commitment was flickering in Pellegrini’s eyes. Where did this come from, and how did we get here?

Perhaps the realization that Pep Guardiola is poised to march through The Etihad revolving doors and snatch Pellegrini's job finally sunk-in. It’s the last chance for the 62 year-old to make his mark. Guardiola may have the potential to propel City onto new levels but this is not his era. Not yet. This is the time of Pellegrini and the most successful period in City’s history, and it’s not over yet.

City managers since the Abu Dhabi Group era began

Name                                   Season                    Games played                  Average points per game

Manuel Pellegrini             2013-present                     161                                        2.03

Roberto Mancini              2009-2013                         191                                        1.97

Mark Hughes                   2008-2009                         77                                          1.64

Sven Goran-Eriksson       2007-2008                         45                                          1.51

Pellegrini can leave Guardiola a nervous wreck when he touches down in Manchester in July. He will face a Premier League bolstered with rejuvenated Manchester United and Chelsea sides, strengthened by the rise of Leicester City, West Ham and Tottenham and rounded off with the pressure of Liverpool and Arsenal. 

Add a Champions League title and it’s a near impossible act to follow.

It may seem difficult to root for Manchester City, however in the wider lens their $2.58 billion value is nothing in comparison to Bayern Munich’s $4.5 billion worth and Madrid’s Forbes list-topping $6.12 billion price tag.

The Guardiola era will bring further envy and bitterness as the club splashes more cash and muscles their way further towards the most hated point of the rich list – the top.

Support Manchester City . . . before it’s too late.

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4 min read
Published 25 April 2016 at 8:56pm
By Liam Curtis