Abu Dhabi-owned Manchester City boast most expensive squad in history

Sheikh Mansour purchased Manchester City in 2008. (Reuters)
Updated 13 February 2018
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Abu Dhabi-owned Manchester City boast most expensive squad in history

PARIS: Premier League leaders Manchester City have the most expensive squad in history, according to a report published by the Swiss-based CIES Football Observatory.
The research values Pep Guardiola’s squad at €878 million ($1.08 billion), with Paris Saint-Germain second on €805 million, after a January transfer window in which City acquired center-back Aymeric Laporte from Athletic Bilbao for €65 million.
Man City are financed by the Abu Dhabi United Group which is owned by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, half-brother of Abu Dhabi’s ruler and UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan. Sheikh Mansour purchased the English club in 2008.
PSG are owned by Oryx Qatar Sports Investments and they made Neymar the world's most costliest player last summer, signing the Brazilian for $263 million from Barcelona. That transfer accounts for more than a quarter of the PSG total but Kylian Mbappe is only on loan, despite an anticipated transfer fee of up to €180 million to be paid to Monaco at the end of the season.
That leaves Guardiola managing the costliest-ever collection of talent.
“When you want to compete at the highest level, you need to spend,” Guardiola said last month. ”Some clubs spend £300, £400 million on two players. We spend it on six players.”
Two other teams have spent more than €700m building their squads — Manchester United (€747m) and Barcelona (€725m).
The rest of the top ten is made up of Real Madrid in sixth, Juventus in eighth and four Premier League teams — Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal and Everton.
The researchers calculated that the average Premier League squad cost “a record high” of €291m, more than double La Liga’s average of €131 million.


Morata misses out on Spain World Cup squad

Updated 42 min 46 sec ago
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Morata misses out on Spain World Cup squad

MADRID: Chelsea striker Alvaro Morata was left out of Spain’s World Cup squad, announced on Monday.
Morata paid the price for a disappointing debut season in the Premier League as Spain coach Julen Lopetegui picked Iago Aspas and Rodrigo Moreno up front, along with Atletico Madrid’s Diego Costa.
“The decision is always difficult because of the talent of the players we have,” Lopetegui said.
“We have opted for three other players who had different assets and including four players up front was not something we wanted to do.”
Two more Chelsea players also missed out as Marcos Alonso and Cesc Fabregas were not included in the 23-man group.
Morata’s absence was the stand-out decision, however, even if it was not an entirely surprising one given the 25-year-old’s dramatic dip in form.
After scoring seven goals in his first seven games for Chelsea, a back injury seemed to affect his confidence. Morata has scored only three times in 22 games since the turn of the year.
“I’ve talked to the players I had to talk to,” Lopetegui said. “I’m not going to name anybody, but there are players who had to find out from me that they were not going to be on the list.”
In contrast, Aspas and Moreno have been in excellent form for Celta Vigo and Valencia respectively, with Aspas the top Spanish scorer in La Liga on 22 goals.
Costa is expected to start when Spain open up against Portugal in Group B on June 15 but Aspas, with his speed and direct running, remains an attractive option.
Alonso only made his debut in a friendly against Argentina in March and lost out to Arsenal’s Nacho Monreal. Fabregas fell behind Spain’s impressive wealth of options in midfield, which will include Sergio Busquets, Saul Niguez, Koke, Thiago Alcantara, Andres Iniesta, David Silva, Isco, Marco Asensio and Lucas Vazquez.
Manchester United’s David de Gea was included as expected, along with fellow goalkeepers Pepe Reina and Kepa Arrizabalaga.
Chelsea defender Cesar Azpilicueta did make it in, as did Monreal. Dani Carvajal, Alvaro Odriozola, Gerard Pique, Sergio Ramos, Nacho and Jordi Alba complete Spain’s group of defenders.
“I’ve had several doubts, making a list of 23 is very difficult,” Lopetegui said. “But we have decided this was the most balanced decision and the one we think will help us most at the World Cup.”