A bomb was launched on Friday, when Manchester City were handed by UEFA a 2-year ban from European competitions, starting from the 20/21. The most damming allegation was that a holding company from City’s owner, Sheikh Mansour, funneled money to the club’s sponsors based in Abu Dhabi, who then rerouted the money to the Sky Blues as sponsorship.
For instance, when Mansour started making expensive signings to rocket the club into the elite, they struggled to meet the maximum €45m deficit permitted by the Financial Fair Play between 2012 and 2013. Therefore, they needed to show boosted revenues, and in 2011 the sponsorship with the Abu Dhabi airline Etihad greatly increased – obscurely. As well as breaking with the FFP rules, Man City were also found guilty of failing to cooperate in the investigation of the case.
City responded with fire and fury, again, and will appeal to the CAS and to have their case heard in an impartial Court of Law. It remains to be seen whether the CAS will overturn that or not, but the consequences of this ban could be huge. How could this benefit Barça?
While I don’t believe our board will do so, this could be a great opportunity to get our hands on some stars that are reaching their peak and may want to leave in search of Champions League football. Leroy Sané may be the first to kick off this squad exodus. Unfortunately, the rumours link him to Bayern, rather to what he once described as his “dream club”, Barcelona. Sané is available and I would clearly sign him, while we can’t say ‘no’ to the likes of De Bruyne, Sterling, Bernardo, Laporte, Eric García or even Gabriel Jesus if they were up for sale.
The other hot topic: Guardiola. I doubt he will leave the Etihad, with him having recently stated that he is “100% staying” and him having an entire project at City revolving around his figure. I suppose that, if Pep departs, it will be in 2021, when his contract expires, and not to Barcelona – maybe Italy.
These are just hypothetical assumptions, though, and with our directives I always expect the worst-case scenario. Apart from having one less rival in the race for the UCL, I don’t think Barça will exploit this juicy situation much.