Its rather absurd how the ability to splash fortunes around at the top end of the sport has inadvertently shone light on modern football as an institution above moral and financial grounds of society. The lavish and unnecessary spending habits have been highlighted by Manchester City, which is a shame because there are so many good things that their wealthy owners have brought to the club, the community, the local area and English football.
Spoilt for choice or Spoilt by the ability to choose
Having signed a highly-rated Serbian international, who was on the radar of every big club in Europe for £22 million just 18 months ago, and agreeing to pay the youngster a huge salary – believed to be more than £6m a year – the sheikhs of Manchester City now find themselves in a situation where they cannot use Stevan Jovetic in the Champions League despite him playing the starring role for the English champions in their pre-season.
If it was a case of injuries hindering the club or costing the club, one could have some sympathy. Evidently it isn’t and that created all the more gap between Jovetic and City as they decided to buy Wilfried Bony, for £28m, and pay him £100,000 a week, plus a bonus of £20,000 for every game he plays despite having an experienced yet young international striker on their bench.
From a financial high ground it’s a breath-taking and mind-boggling decision as Manchester City are effectively shoveling tons of money into the bank account of a player who cannot feature in the Champions League – their Achilles heel. Lots of money for nothing – literally and in every sense a total waste of money.
Inviting unnecessary pressure to deliver
One has to feel some sympathy for the player. Having stayed with the club showing surprising loyalty instead of leaving in the January window when suitors eyed him up from all parts of Europe, Jovetic will play out the remainder of this campaign not only is he ineligible for Europe but also working with a manager who clearly doesn’t believe in his abilities.
Swapping Jovetic for Bony in mid-season and splashing another 28 million for the services of the Ivorian might just be the decision that could cost Manuel Pellegrini his job. Surely now, only success on the pitch can save the Chilean. Success on the pitch too has narrowed down to just 2 avenues for the Chilean; he now needs to either overturn Chelsea’s lead at the top of the table or go all the way in the Champions League. One even more daunting than the other.
The risk of Losing the dressing room.
The decision to leave Jovetic out of the squad for Europe is one that clearly angered and upset the player, and it might just come back to haunt Pellegrini in the longer run. Rules had to be followed and Pellegrini had a tough decision to make as he had to make space for his new signing to play in the Champions League. To be fair to Pelligrini, Jovetic hasn’t been a stand-out performer for City by any stretch of imagination. However, the Serbian did play in five of the six group games making significant contributions throughout and especially in the final game in Rome, and the vital victory over Bayern Munich. With Bony arriving on big money, someone had to be left out, and unfortunately, Jovetic was the fall guy. And he didn’t hold back his feelings as he spoke to the press about his malcontent. ‘The manager has killed me with this decision,’ he said. Apparently, Jovetic even went to discuss the matter with his manager, but according to the player – ‘He wouldn’t listen.’
Such treatment of a fellow team-mate never goes down well with the dressing room. Whether Jovetic is a vital player or not is irrelevant, his fellow professionals will know that he has been hurt by what has happened, and the fact that the manager refused to even listen to Jovetic when he went to discuss it will compound the problem. Those City players on Jovetic’s side – which could be all of them – won’t be rushing to the chairman’s office in support of the manager if City win nothing come the end of the season. And Why should they? This is a boss who has the ability to treat one of their mates with contempt in the middle of a season. The City dressing room turned on Roberto Mancini for far less than this.
From a football point of view, Bony for Jovetic is understandable. But morally and financially it’s a dreadful decision. And it’s one that could cost Pellegrini his job.