It has become a tradition among leading figures in German football to label Manchester City as a club that players only join for money. Bayern Munich chief Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, one of the chief supporters of Financial Fair Play, has often taken shots, including one recently after City beat the German champions to a leading Bundesliga star for the second year running.
German World Cup winner, Lothar Matthäus, is the latest to have a dig, with some comments about one of those Bundesliga stars that eluded Bayern, Leroy Sané:
“Sané will make several times his Schalke wages at Manchester City and that has been decisive in his decision to make the move to the Premier League.
“I cannot come up with any other reason. He was playing at a real traditional club at Schalke.”
Those with less one-track minds will argue that Sané saw the chance to work with Pep Guardiola, a coach who has developed young talent into elite footballers, and that was the decisive factor in his move to the Etihad. Others, such as Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko, also turned down good opportunities to work with the 45-year-old Catalan.
SPORT BILD backed up that argument today, stating that the 20-year-old had a superior financial offer from French giants Paris Saint-Germain. Moving to PSG guarantees the league title every year, Champions League football, and a lot of money, but Sané turned them down to play in the Premier League under Pep. Hardly the attitude of someone who cares only for money and the easy life.
The stigma persists that the only reason to join Manchester City is for money. Nevermind, that City are arguably the most successful English club of the last half decade. Or that they have possibly the most impressive training facilities in the world. And, of course, the presence of Pep Guardiola, considered by many to be the best coach in the world. Some cling to the idea, eight years after the takeover, that there is one reason and one reason only to move to the Etihad. The most recent data stated that while City pay competitive wages, their wage bill is only the sixth highest in Europe, behind United, PSG, Chelsea, Real Madrid and Barcelona.
The truth is, to those with their eyes open, is that City is now one of the most appealing clubs in the world to join, and the arrival of Pep Guardiola makes it a more attractive destination than ever. Back in January, Guillem Balague labelled City, “The biggest football project in the history of the game.” Whether that is true or not is open for debate, but it is far more than a “money club” in the year 2016.