Derby defeat won’t stop City march
It probably isn’t the best time to say it, but in the aftermath of Man City’s last gasp derby defeat to bitter rivals United, it became clear that City are a club on the rapid rise.
So often a fixture that proved to be a minor irritant rather than a formidable challenge, City’s very expensive revolution has forced United to take them seriously this year.
Fergie showed that by naming his strongest line up, including veterans Gary Neville, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs and Edwin Van Der Sar.
United have been at the top of the English game for over a decade so it was no surprise they had the last laugh in this battle.
However, unless there is another crop of outrageously talented youngsters about to make the step up from the United academy, much of the United’s side are approaching their best before date.
When the likes of Giggs and Scholes – as well as boss Ferguson – retire, will United, who have debts of more than £700million, be able to rebuild the squad with a similar standard of players?
It is a question that must be worrying United fans and exciting City supporters, who have long lived in their rival’s shadow.
City’s position couldn’t be more different. They might not make fourth this season – the football betting suggests they won’t – but it will still be the club’s highest Premier League finish.
Their owners mean business and although the lack of Champions League football will make it harder to attract the world’s best players, unlimited funds for wages goes a long way towards persuading people to join your club.
There is already talk of a £90 million bid for Benfica duo Angel Di Maria and Oscar Cardozo, while James Milner is also believed to be a £24 million target as the rumour mill clicks into gear. However, if Milner is able to help England justify their World Cup 2010 odds then his value could leap.
At this rate Real Madrid’s credit crunch busting £216 million outlay of last season could be eclipsed with one or two deals. If his does happen, City will be aiming far higher than fourth place next season.
So if I were a City fan I wouldn’t be too downbeat after Saturday because, while United won the battle, it looks like you could win the war.