Manchester City: impossible is… nothing?!
Manchester City, as hard as it is for a fan of Manchester United to admit, has become a club that has genuinely expanded the realms of possibility. I remember, closely watching the final hours of transfer deadline day in 2008, as Robinho was expected to be settling down in some Mayfair hotel putting pen to paper on a new multi-million pound deal with Chelsea. Suddenly, the news screens flashed a story that at the time seemed like a ridiculous joke. “Man City trump Chelsea offer and tempt Brazilian superstar to Eastlands”. Mocking laughter turned to disbelieving laughter… before the laughter stopped. If City could really sign Robinho… would there be no limit?
Shake it up City
It is hard to argue that sensational events like the transformation of Manchester City are not a great thing. In a league that has for a while seemed ever more to solidify into a fixed list of Man United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool, the emergence of City and Spurs as genuine title contenders has brought back a new element of competition that has to be welcomed – even by United fans perhaps.
Enter the Buffoon…
So for City fans, still eyeing a Champions League finish this year, it comes as a harsh crash down to reality when cocky but justifiably cocky world beaters like Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon stick the boot in and take the blue upstarts down a few pegs. Buffon has been in new-money City’s little black book for a while, and it was only a matter of time before the Eastlanders strutted by, cash in hand, seductively looking the Italian’s way. Indeed, Ahmed Bilal noted that way back in August 2008.
“No way” I’d sign”
But Buffon (alias “the world’s #1 goalkeeper”) recently quelled any speculation with a sharp put down reported in The Express.
“The best players in the world want to be playing for the top teams in the top three leagues, no more than five or six teams in Europe. It’s a very elite list and Manchester City have to accept the fact they are not one of them.”
Unless it’s all just a very cunning plan…
The cynicism of football fans is boundless! To quote one fan’s retort from The Express:
“Warmed up rubbish from ageing injured player as part of his agent’s desperate contract talks.”
But does he have a point? Buffon has not been especially immune in the past to the lure of the buck – enjoying the salary to match the world’s biggest transfer fee for a goalkeeper, and a big money sponsorship deal to wear and endorse Puma goalkeeper gloves. And at the age of 32, the Italian will no doubt feel the pressure to maximise his earning ability going in to the twilight years of his football career.
Buffon to walk out a blue in August – don’t count against it yet!