Football

Manchester City & Chelsea target is a waste of money

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When a team places their complete financial faith in a player under the age of 23 you can quite comfortably bank on one of two things.

Either the player in question is particularly special, as is the case at hand with Neymar's £48.6million move to Barcelona, or the team is attempting to play a wildcard in a search for inspiration to lift spirits.

This is why it's particular bemusing for me to see the likes of Manchester City and Chelsea so persistently following Porto's 22-year-old central defender, the redoubtable Eliaqium Mangala.

Reverting back to the prior staples of any big money move for a relatively unproven youngster, the figure in question ticks neither box.

Despite being portrayed as a strong and resolute defender of massive potential, Mangala has yet to regularly mix it with the best and hasn't showcased anything of yet to suggest he's a special player.

Nor are either City or Chelsea experiencing struggles that would merit them taking a gamble in the hope of a new recruit providing a fresh resurgence for the team.

That's without taking into account that the player in question is valued at £37million.

Now, I'm all for the modern day approach to football and I can usually be found on the side of the fence that understands that monetary value within the sport is only ever going to increase.

However £37million for a young central defender who could quite easily follow in the footsteps of so many others who have capitulated under the pressure of the Premier League, screams of a nightmare move waiting to happen.

Whilst Chelsea can argue that beyond Gary Cahill they don't own a solid centre-back who is either in or yet to hit the prime of his career, they only need look across to David Luiz to recall valid reasoning as to why throwing copious amounts of cash in order to attract a highly-rated defender from the continent can all too often fail to pay dividends.

Luiz cost €25million from Benfica in 2011 and, although admittedly being a far more unconventional centre-back than Mangala, has failed to make the grade in terms of becoming a trusted defensive servant in the Premier League.

Manchester City are too in need of a sturdy centre-half to partner Vincent Kompany with, but with the likes of the 20-year-old Matija Nastasic at the club- who's move to the Etihad was worth around €15million- you fail to see where Mangala's arrival becomes a benefit to anyone other than those who would seek a complete overhaul of the back-line.

Mangala may be a player of recognised potential, but for £37million he is a huge risk.

A price-tag like that carries a fair amount of expectation that, as a centre-back, is almost impossible to achieve, let alone when you're thrust into the most competitive league in the world.

Chelsea and particularly City may have immersed themselves in the 'more money than sense' mantra, but even for them this is a step into new territory.

If he were to come good then they've still spent a hell of a lot for a strong defender, and if he were to struggle to adapt to the rigours of the English game- which is the far more likely variable- then the respective clubs stand to be embarrassed.

It's not so much a healthy gamble as a risk with a view to an unprecedented financial mistake.

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Topics:
Football
Premier League
Manchester City
Chelsea

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