Transfer Window

Created on 2/9/2008

Last night at the witching hour the football transfer deadline was reached with frenetic activity, particularly in the city of Manchester. Two £30 million plus deals went through minutes before the final cut off.

As a Manchester United fan I was thrilled that my team finally managed to pry the elusive Bulgarian, Dimitar Berbatov from Spurs. He finishes the United attacking package which now looks as good as it gets.

Perhaps more fascinating is the fact that Manchester City were able to buy the brilliant Brazilian forward, Robinho from Real Madrid. The reason they were able to achieve this amazing deal is the fact that the entire club was effectively purchased by the Arab Investment Group from its previous incumbent, the former Prime Minister of Thailand.

Robinho burst on to the scene as an 18-year-old when he helped Santos win their first Brazilian championship in 2002.

His fabulous trickery, sublime skills and powerful, sublimely balanced physique led to his being compared with another former Santos great Pele, and eventually Real Madrid came calling with their cheque book open and ready.

Robinho pressured Santos for his move to Real and after a lengthy tug-of-war transfer saga, the Brazilian club relented and sold him to the Spanish giants for $30 million in August 2005.

He was considered the new Galactico when he arrived at the club, Robinho sizzled on his debut as a substitute but it all became a struggle for him during his first European Champions League campaign.

He was part of the team that won the Spanish league title under coach Fabio Capello in 2007, but too often was a substitute and only really demonstrated his skills last season when he helped Real to their second consecutive championship, scoring 11 goals in 32 outings.

Robinho is a current regular in the Brazilian national side. It is public knowledge that he had agitated for a move to Chelsea before the new kids on the block, Manchester City, made the shocking transfer move.

The new owners of Manchester City have declared how serious their intent is by the purchase of the Brazilian, and obviously, behind the scenes must have guaranteed the series of other buys the club has made over the last couple of weeks which add up to a figure in excess of another £30 million. The Robinho transfer is the biggest in English football history.

The new owner of Manchester City, is a an Abu Dhabi consortium led by Dr Sulaiman Al-Fahim, who is no shrinking violet and he expects and appears to want the same high profile impact in England as Roman Abramovich.

Russian billionaire Abramovich bought Chelsea in 2003, bankrolling the Blues to consecutive Premier League titles, a Carling Cup and an FA Cup which has so far cost him more than half a billion pounds to bankroll.

However, these huge sums expended by the Russian at Stamford Bridge will be dwarfed if City's owner lives up to his promises.

The Arab businessman is understood to be up to ten times richer than his counterpart at Chelsea; Al-Fahim insists funds will be made available to Mark Hughes to bring the club alongside, then above Europe's elite.
"We would like to see Manchester City fighting for trophies in every tournament," he said.

"We don't just want Manchester City to be challenging for trophies in England, but also in the Champions League”.

"We want them to be in for every trophy available."

He has declared that whoever his manager, Mark Hughes, ironically a Manchester United legend as a player, wants, he will provide the funds to buy.

What this all means is that there is no longer a big four in English football, this investment makes it clear that there is now a big five; add the name Manchester City to that of Manchester United, Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea. Is it a good thing for football in general, probably not, but it is an exciting and very interesting shake up at the very top.