Manchester City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak lays down his marker

22 December 2010 08:40
Manchester City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak flew back to Abu Dhabi on Tuesday certain of two things.

First, the club's handling of the Carlos Tevez saga has laid down a marker for the way the club will deal with star players in the future and, second, Roberto Mancini's team can win the Premier League this season.

The latter may seem a peculiar view given that City had just blown a chance to go top.Nevertheless, Khaldoon has shown himself to be a man not short of purpose this week.

Still with high hopes: Manchester City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak chats with chief executive Garry Cook on Monday night

It would be naive to think the City chairman's golden words alone turned Tevez's transfer request to dust on Monday.

The issue of the captain's future may yet return to bother the club. But Khaldoon's bullish, obdurate stance in the meeting with the Argentine said much about the way City will do their business in the months ahead.

His message was simple: you are not leaving.

Khaldoon now has no doubt that Mancini has the tools to mount a serious challenge for the League this season. Mancini will not be sacked if he doesn't win it, but he knows he has a responsibility to go close.

Those who have spent timewith Khaldoon this week have spoken of his remarkablecertainty that City will become the most significant force in England.

A year since the clumsy sacking of Mark Hughes, there are regrets about the handling but none about the decision.

Khaldoon, in fact, is known to blame himself for not pulling the trigger sooner. Some in football feel Mancini has nothing that Hughes did not have.

However, that argument is now irrelevant. Khaldoon believes the direction the club are tracking is right.

Staying on: Tevez clashes with Everton's Marouane Felliani on Monday

There is little at City that has remained untouched. An example is the club's youth academy. To many, the fact Jim Cassell and Alex Gibson, who led City to the FA Youth Cup in 2008 and produced a string of first-team players, are no longer involved isbaffling.

To Khaldoon and his advisers, however, the academy was inadequate. Producing Shaun Wright-Phillips, Joey Barton and Micah Richards is not enough. They want the next Lionel Messi.

Those who have been around English football longer than City's owners may dismiss this as pie in the sky. City, though, view things differently and have a startling single-mindedness.

Having told Mancini there will be no more wild transfer spending for some time, City are looking to increase revenue to balance the books before the FIFA Fair Play rules come in for 2013-14.

They will continue to pursue Wolfsburg striker Edin Dzeko but most of their activity thisJanuary will be selling players.

City will also auction the naming rights to their stadium soon and are confident commercial opportunities being explored in Asia will do much for their turnover.

Khaldoon doesn't lack confidence. During a seven-a-side game involving Mancini and his coaching staff on Sunday, he almost scored with a brilliant overhead kick. He will no doubt expect it to go in next time.

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Source: Daily_Mail