Belfast Telegraph

Paris Saint-Germain v Man City Champions League: Eastlands spending has yet to reap big rewards

By Mark Ogden

Accelerated acquisition strategy was the buzz phrase around Manchester City the last time they encountered Paris Saint-Germain.

Three months on from Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al Nahyan's £210m takeover of the club in September 2008, moves were already afoot to launch an audacious £91m move for Kaka in the January transfer window.

Although City instead ended up with Shay Given and Craig Bellamy the foundations for the club's subsequent growth and success were already being laid.

As a crowd of 25,626 trudged away from a 0-0 Uefa Cup draw at Eastlands few would have imagined that the two clubs would next meet in a Champions League quarter-final as the world's most lavishly-funded teams.

Perhaps most gallingly for City's Abu Dhabi owners, the encounter will take place with PSG having been jet-propelled ahead of them by Qatari backers, whose motivation to succeed will have been fuelled by the perennial battle between the two tiny Gulf states to outdo each other.

With PSG the Qataris have displayed the ability not only to succeed, but also transform the club into a destination of choice for the world's leading players - an outfit that thwarted Roberto Mancini's determination to lure Edinson Cavani to City from Napoli in the summer of 2012.

City may have had the accelerated acquisition strategy back in 2008, but despite only taking over at PSG in 2011, the Qataris have seen their accelerated success strategy take them beyond their quarter-final opponents and behind only Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich in the race to sign the world's top players.

If Cristiano Ronaldo leaves Real this summer PSG, rather than the blue or red halves of Manchester, is his most likely destination.

"We want to confirm what the owners all had in mind when they bought PSG. We have nothing to demonstrate to Manchester City. This is not a challenge against Manchester City," claimed PSG coach Laurent Blanc.

"This is not really a sporting question, but we can compare both projects because financial investors came in and gave some financial power to City and Paris.

"In England you guys should be used to it, there are not many clubs who are not owned by foreign investors.

"These are two similar projects, but in terms of football these will be two great games."

City have earned their success, but they share a European frustration having failed to crack the Champions League.

For both, Barcelona have become an annual roadblock at the business end of the competition.

This quarter-final offers City and PSG the chance to break new ground by reaching the semi-finals, with City at this stage for the first time and PSG aiming to progress to the last four after three consecutive quarter-final exits.

Belfast Telegraph


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