Millionaires Man City signed free agent Hargreaves because they'd run out of money!
Published 22:30 07/09/11 By David McDonnell
Roberto Mancini signed Owen Hargreaves for free after being told by the Manchester City board there was no more money to spend.
City spent £75million on Sergio Aguero, Samir Nasri, Gale Clichy and Stefan Savic this summer, but failed to shift several players Mancini does not want.
Mancini's tactical coach David Platt revealed City moved for free agent Hargreaves after they failed to sell unwanted stars Emmanuel Adebayor, Craig Bellamy and Roque Santa Cruz.
Former Manchester United midfielder Hargreaves joined City on transfer deadline day for a basic salary of around £20,000-a-week, with performance-related incentives built into the rest of his contract.
The notion of City, the world's richest club, having no more money to spend on players seems absurd, but Platt revealed Mancini was told he could only bring in a free signing or someone on loan.
Platt said: "We needed a central midfield player but unfortunately in terms of players going out and bringing in transfer fees, a lot have gone out on loan, so fees haven't come in for them.
"For a few weeks we have understood, from a business perspective, that after signing Nasri, there wasn't going to be a big-name signing coming in.
"You have to get creative. The owners and the board have been terrific in saying 'We know you need a midfield player but we have to be creative about it'."
Platt admitted the signing of Hargreaves, who lost three years of his career to a persistent injury problem which affected both knees, was risk but claimed it was one worth taking.
"A lot of people would say it's a gamble, but I think gamble is too strong a word," said Platt.
"When you put all the things into the mix it's a calculated risk and one that we feel is well worth taking.
"What we do know is that if we look at the glass as half-full, and it works out for us and for Owen, we get the kind of player that it's very difficult to find - a player that has got that Champions League experience.
"If we are talking about Owen Hargreaves as was, he is one of the best midfield players in the world."