City want Xavi to give them the X factor
Published 23:02 11/05/11 By David Maddock - EXCLUSIVE
Manchester City are to offer Barcelona lynchpin Xavi a massive final payday to end his career at Eastlands.
And that will be bad news for Arsenal, as it would leave a Cesc Fabregas-shaped vacancy in the Barca midfield.
City are determined to kick on after clinching a top four finish - which will see them enter the Champions League for the first time next season - and they want to be recognised as among the elite of the game.
The desire is to sign marquee players to spearhead that challenge, but there will be no dramatic transfer market sprees, as in previous transfer windows, as a new realism is coming to Eastlands.
Blues bosses are worried about the impact of new UEFA ‘fair play’ regulations, which limit a club’s wage bill in relation to its turnover.
City currently fall foul of the new rules, which will begin to be implemented from next season.
That means there is no chance of the sort of activity that saw bus-loads of new signings arrive at the Manchester club in the past two seasons.
Instead, far more players will be offloaded than brought in, as City look to reduce the wage bill by massive sums.
But that won’t stop the pursuit of at least three top-class players, with boss Roberto Mancini drawing up a list that will surprise many because of some of the names on it.
He has identified stars such as AC Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who he coached at Inter Milan, as well as pin-pointing some promising young stars to underpin the club’s future.
It is understood he has already made enquiries about Everton’s £25million-rated England Under-21 international Jack Rodwell.
City have watched the talented young midfielder for some time, and would be keen to move to add him to the Eastlands roster... and thwart arch-rivals Manchester United in the process.
But it is the interest in Xavi that is the most intriguing.
On the surface, they would seem to have no chance of landing a player who has been at Barca for his whole career, and is assumed to want to end his playing days there.
But Xavi is not a massive earner at the Nou Camp and, at 31, has achieved just about everything he can with club and country and is approaching the time when he might like to cash in at the end of his illustrious career.
A similar situation occurred at Real Madrid, when they allowed one of their all time greats, Raul, to leave to try a new adventure with Germany's Schalke.
Barcelona recognise they have received incredible service from a player who joined them as an 11-year-old and has won just about every honour, including the World Cup, and totted up 101 caps for Spain.
It would also allow them to move for Fabregas, who almost rejoined the Spanish giants last summer but then Barca ran into financial trouble and were forced to drop their interest.
This time, they would be almost certain to get their man, especially if a space in midfield is opened up for him.
Xavi has a rollover contract that could be renewed for four more years, but Barca are unlikely to stand in his way if he decides he’d like to taste a new football style.
If City offload the many players they currently have out on loan, they can reduce the wage bill and STILL offer one of the best midfielders in the world more than £150,000 a week.
The capture of Xavi would herald a new dawn at Eastlands, with the club now determined to cut the wage bill by getting rid of surplus personnel and paying squad men much less, while at the same time paying top dollar for real stars of his ilk.