On Friday, Manchester City received a bit of bad news. Because they breached the rules of Financial Fair Play (FFP) set out by UEFA, City will pay a hefty fine, cap its wages at their current level, and reduce their Champions League roster from 25 to 21.
In addition, that roster must contain a minimum of four homegrown players. Which might end up being a problem for City. The only homegrown player who held a starting position this season was goalkeeper Joe Hart. James Milner played his part from the bench, most others contributed bit roles.
And now, despite the homegrown player requirement, Manchester City are prepared to release five English players. Micah Richards, who has been at City for 13 years, will go, allowing another team to deal with the cost of his frequent injuries. Scott Sinclair, who spent the season on loan at West Brom and made just eight appearances there, will likely go – regarded as a rather costly flop.
Jack Rodwell spent much of the season injured, so City might not be ready to sell the former Everton man just yet. Instead it’s likely they’ll arrange a loan so the 23-year-old can gain more first-team experience.
Finally, both Gareth Barry and Joleon Lescott are out of contract. The former spent the season at Everton, and the Toffees are keen to keep him on – if they can afford him. Lescott has been connected to Aston Villa for years, but it’s more likely he’ll wind up at West Ham.
None of these players will bring in particularly large sums for Manchester City. And with their transfer funds limited to about $82m, you have to start to wonder: how will City meet the conditions required by their breach of FFP, and still defend their title?