Since the club’s takeover in 2008, Manchester City have been through a whole host of changes; multi-million pound transfers, an influx of silverware and arrivals of the world’s best players to east Manchester have transformed the same team, who less than twenty years ago were stranded in the depths of the third tier of English football.
But, whilst the blues’ are strongly establishing themselves as a staple amongst the big hitters in world football, they are yet to experience the damaging feeling of losing a player, whom the fans have grown emotionally attached to and seen develop to the peak of their powers, to a bigger and stronger football club around Europe – a crushing defeat for a clubs ego, one which City’s bitter rivals are more than aware of.
Before Cristiano Ronaldo left Manchester for Madrid in the summer of 2009, he had blossomed from a teenage prodigy into a world beater and it left the fans who had invested so much of their livelihood into the Portuguese starlet questioning where the loyalty in football had gone.
Fans of united failed to comprehend why he left, and carried a deluded belief that they were the greatest club in the world. Thus caused mass confusion amongst the terraces, but the answer was much more simple and much less complicated than expected.
Loyalty is a myth within modern day football and more than ever before players jump from team to team in an attempt to experience football in every corner of the continent and boost their bank balances as much as possible; the attachments fans form with their players isn’t equal anymore to the attachments players form with a club, and this is just part and parcel of being at the top.
Everybody has been in utter awe with the fluidity and flare Manchester City’s attack has displayed this season and Pep Guardiola’s comments that they are the best creative team in the league just echoes this.
As a whole unit and taking consistency into account there are huge improvements to be made, but in the final third very few teams in Europe, let alone the league, that keep possession so effortlessly and attack with such ease; in just nine months Guardiola with the likes of Leroy Sane, Sergio Aguero, Raheem Sterling, De Bruyne and co. has transformed a tepid, lacklustre and timid front force, into one of the most potent, powerful and formidable around.
The future looks bright for the blues with the potential to dominate for the next decade and beyond with the current crop of players, but no player has had more attention this season than the Brazilian golden boy: Gabriel Jesus.
Since his introduction in mid January, he has left the Manchester City faithful in wonderment; his electric pace, brutal tenacity and ruthless finishing in front of goal suggest the teenage superstar has the potential to be the world’s best for years on end.
The acquisition of Jesus also represented a new era for Manchester City – it was the first time the blues had signed a raw talent as naturally gifted as the Brazilian at such a young age, as opposed to the usual additions of ready made players bought to fit into a squad straight away. Jesus has encapsulated the imagination of the City faithful and for now, the future looks very bright.
In an idealistic world, Jesus, and any future prodigies will flourish and grow proportionally with the club into a European giant, with the world’s best players. However football is far from idealistic and the increasingly business-like nature of the modern game means football revolves around opportunism, rather than loyalty.
It is impossible to predict the events and sagas which face Manchester City as they continue their transformation into a global powerhouse; one thing is for certain, the more elite talent joining the blue half of Manchester in their early years, the bigger the probability a player will be tempted by the lure of a ‘bigger’ club and will heartlessly leave behind a fan base who have devoted themselves to the progression and development of a world-class star.