City on Uefa watch list after spree
Premier League club and PSG are under scrutiny Free-spending sides could breach financial fair play
Manchester City are back on Uefa’s financial watch list after their £220 million spending spree this summer.
City and Paris St-Germain were fined for breaching Uefa’s Financial Fair Play rules three years ago and the two clubs’ activity in this summer’s window is being scrutinised again.
Pep Guardiola could take his spending to around the £300million mark if he manages to sign £60million-rated Chilean forward Alexis Sanchez from Arsenal and bring in another centrehalf. City are also prepared to rival Real Madrid for the £161 million purchase of Monaco striker Kylian Mbappe in the event they cannot persuade Arsenal to sell Sanchez, a move that would push their spending closer to £400 million.
PSG have spent only £13.5million so far on left-back Yuri Berchiche from Real Sociedad and signed right-back Dani Alves on a free transfer from Juventus. But the French club are prepared to break the world transfer record by meeting the £196 million release clause in Brazil forward Neymar’s contract with Barcelona.
Both City and PSG have to tread carefully because a second breach of FFP would leave them open to more severe punishment from Uefa, including a ban from European competition.
City, who spent more than £170million in the transfer market last summer, recorded a £20.5 million profit on record revenues of £391.8million for the 2015/2016 season. Clubs can be granted special dispensation to run up bigger losses than those allowed under Uefa guidelines but that does not apply to teams punished in the past three years under FFP.
This week Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho called on Uefa to get tough and claimed FFP had “big work to do because probably there are some strategies of disguise”. “We don’t make a distinction, all clubs are treated in the same way,” said Andrea Traverso, who heads up FFP. “PSG and Manchester City have been punished, but I can tell you Inter Milan and Roma have been restricted too.
“It’s been a long time since 2014 when the rules had just been intro- duced. Now, everyone knows them well. PSG are no longer under those restrictions, but that doesn’t mean they can start to do what they want.
“They must respect financial fair play regulations, just like everyone else in Europe. They must show they can have losses that do not go beyond €30million [£26.8million] over three years. I’m convinced that everything will be done within the rules. But I understand very well that some people are asking themselves questions.”
Guardiola had ridiculed reports in March that said City could sign at least six players this summer and allow more than a dozen to leave the club by saying: “I am going to assure you it’s impossible to do that.”
However, that is exactly what is materialising during a summer of huge upheaval that could eventually result in a turnover of up to 25 players. City have made six signings so far with goalkeeper Ederson Moraes, defenders Kyle Walker, Benjamin Mendy and Da- nilo and midfielders Bernardo Silva and Douglas Luiz, and want to bring in at least two more.
Ten players have been sold or released for a combined sum of £42 million while Joe Hart has been loaned to West Ham and the number of departures could swell to 18 if Eliaquim Mangala, Wilfried Bony, Fabian Delph, Fernando, Samir Nasri, Kelechi Iheanacho and Jason Denayer all go as expected as City shed the dead wood. France defender Mangala has turned down a move to Spartak Moscow but midfielder Fernando should complete a £4.5million move to Galatasaray next week and Delph and Bony could join Stoke and Swansea respectively. Iheanacho is expected to move to Leicester for £25million.
England’s hunger Midfield maestro Jordan Nobbs on her team’s fighting spirit as they chase a semi-final place when they take on France today
Jordan Nobbs is a fantastic footballer, the best in the country according to her peers, a future captain of the national team and the creative spark that has ignited England at the European Championship. Yet you probably would not recognise her even if you were sharing a lift.
She will never be a millionaire – the very suggestion makes her laugh. Top women players are on £35,000 a year – a fraction of the weekly wage of their top male counterparts. She will not be able to retire when her playing career is over and she will never know a celebrity lifestyle.
Perhaps that is why, at the age of 24, the Arsenal player has an unquenchable thirst for improvement. Maybe that is why the women’s team have made such vast progress over the last few years. There is a hunger and a determination that, unlike with their male counterparts, has been undimmed by premature financial rewards.
It is a comparison Nobbs does not like to dwell on, because it is, as far as she is concerned, a futile debate. Yet, for those who have witnessed so many young Englishmen fail to realise their potential, it remains a pertinent one.
When the Lionesses finished third at the World Cup two years ago, they took a huge step forward. But rather than congratulate themselves on that achievement, they immediately turned their attention to surpassing it at the Euros.
With three wins out of three to top their group, they take on France in the quarter-final today, a team they have not beaten since 1974. But this feels like a different England.
“The hunger is there,” said Nobbs, whose father Keith was a nononsense, bruising centre-back for Hartlepool United. “There are a few of us who won the Under-19s Euros and, even as kids, we had that determination and drive. We’ve kept that with us at senior level, we’ve not changed since we were kids and I truly believe that is why we are where we are now. We believe in ourselves and we believe in being winners, to push ourselves to being the very best.
“I want to be pushed as a player, challenged. I want to get better, I’m not the finished article at 24. There are still improvements to be made. I had to leave Sunderland when I was young because they didn’t get into the Super League. I had to join a club like Arsenal, but I knew that would bring out the best in me. I think we’re all like that. I don’t think I’ll ever be a multi-millionaire. For the men, it’s different. I suppose the fact they get so much money, so young, it could make you lose that hunger, but it’s difficult for me to judge something like that.
“It’s a completely different game, I don’t really like to draw comparisons.
‘‘It is very hard to compare men’s and women’s football. We just want to have our own sport, really. If we start comparing the money in football, it would be silly.
“They do get the television coverage and fans in huge numbers, I think all we can do is really push the women’s game as much as we can.
“If one day, it does become that big, hopefully we can keep the same drive in the young kids who have talent. You have to keep that inner drive and determination, or you won’t be successful, either as a team or as an individual. I don’t see that changing for the women’s game.”
It would be a travesty if it did, but the women’s game has never been in a better place in England. There are more people watching than ever before – 2.3million have tuned in to Channel 4 for each of the group games, a significant rise on the figures for the World Cup – and the national team have never played so well.
When Mark Sampson’s team travelled to Holland, they were talked about as potential winners but, more importantly, as they prepare to take on their old nemesis France, they have played like it too. From the moment they arrived, the Lionesses have Hungry for success: Jordan Nobbs is confident England can beat France for the first time since 1974 today swaggered. They sauntered their way through the first three games, flaunting their talent against Scotland, grinding out a result against Spain, before a routine win over Portugal to finish top of Group D.
Throughout it all they have maintained an air of steely determination. Each win has been greeted by muted celebrations, their joy short-lived. After three games only half the job is done and France will be the best team they have faced so far.
“We have a very similar team to the one that went to the World Cup,” explained Nobbs. “But even though we came out of that having performed well, we are two years further down the line and we have improved a lot.
“I think this is the first time we truly believe we can win a tournament. I think people are really fearing England in this tournament and we’re in a really good place as a group. To win all three of our group games, it shows how hard we have been working.
“We are confident and we wouldn’t be this confident if we didn’t think it was a realistic goal. The players we have, the support system we have in the staff, it’s been terrific. We know we can win this tournament and I think with our performances we have shown we can beat the best teams in the world.
“I just think if you don’t believe, you’re bluffing and you’re going to be found out in the end. It’s not just what we have done in Holland, it’s what we have been doing over the last couple of years.
“We’re not fazed by having to play France. We’re ready. Whatever challenges come our way, we are ready to face it. Mark’s tactics are spot
‘I don’t think I’ll ever be a multi-millionaire like the men. If we start comparing money it is just silly’
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