Pieces of the Puzzle: The Mansour Masterplan
Posted by Featured Articles | Published on July 26, 2016
When Sheik Mansour arrived in Manchester in 2008 he brought with him a vision- a bigger picture in which he would build the then mid table club towards. Pundits and fans alike agreed that he would leave the club shortly after. However, eight years on the Sheik is still at the Etihad and now with the appointment of debatably the worlds best manager- Pep Guardiola. Piece by piece, the vision that Mansour had in 2008 is being shared with the footballing world. The one piece that is yet to be obtained by the now world renowned club, the Champions League trophy.
” We are building a structure for the future not just a team of all stars” This quote is now etched onto the walls of the Etihad stadium and the hearts and minds of Cityzens. Some of this does ring true with the heavy investment into the Etihad campus and the push for youth like Kelechi Iheanacho to break into the first team. However, this has only come about in recent years at the dawn of his reign City spent big on average players in their prime. Yes, to evolve as a club at the time City needed a major overhaul but Roque Santa Cruz was not the man to take them to the next level. It seemed at the time Mansour did believe he could spend a lot of money on above average players and they would get him the title. After a couple of seasons with his efforts proving futile, Mansour sacked Hughes and implemented structure to the club, a wage structure was added and emphasis brought to the youth acadamy.
Coinciding with the deaparture of Mark Hughes, a Catalan going by the name of Pep Guardiola was at the height of his success with Barcelona. It was at this point I believe that Mansour earmarked Guardiola as his man, the man he wanted at the helm of Manchester City.
Mansour’s first goal was to assert City as one of the ‘top four’, a powerhouse of English football. What better way to do that then win the BPL title? A mere two seasons later City had their hands on their first BPL title in the most spectacular way possible. Two goals in added time. The manner in which it was won announced City in global headlines, captivating media from around the globe. Mansour’s second goal had been meet indirectly- assert themselves on the world stage.
All that was missing now was a Champions League title and a world class manager. Pep Guardiola almost on cue became available. Unfortunately Bayern Munich beat City to his signiture, a blessing in disguise. Despite settling for second choice, Manuel Pellegrini, City could further grow as a club. The trophy cabinet filled up with another league title and two league cups. Major inroads were also made in the Champions League when they reached an unprecedented semi-final in against Real Madrid. Beating PSG in the process causing then manager Laurent Blanc to call them ‘Guests’. A statement which opposing fans loved but is highly false, City had earned their place in the semis after years of building and dedication. That fixture ended out to be Pellegrini’s swansong as he left the club shortly after. Paving the way for Guardiola.
Eight years in the making Manchester City are finally on the brink of Manosur’s vision- a world class team coached by a world class manager. With a squad of world renowned players and hundreds of world class talents in the youth system the only question that remains is where from here? The main target is now obviously the Champions League, the title which Mansour set his eyes on back in 2008. However Guardiola will leave at some point and many pundits are speculating 2019- three years on. Similar in Guardiola’s rise in 2009, Bourssia Dortumd’s German manger Thomas Tuchel is beginning to grab headlines. To further add fuel to the fire, Director of football Tixi Begiristain has been looking at potentially bringing him in as Guardiola’s replacement.
Despite how hard it is not too look to the future and dream what City can achieve. As a City fan it’s important to stay in the moment and look how far ‘Little ol’City’ have come. We are on the dawn of the Pep era, arguably the most exciting era the club has entered.