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City set for spending spree despite UEFA sanctions

ESPN staff
April 29, 2014
Eliaquim Mangala almost signed for Manchester City in the January transfer window © Getty Images

Manchester City will still attempt to sign £45 million Porto pair Eliaquim Mangala and Fernando despite a warning from UEFA for breaching financial fair play rules.

City failed to secure a deal for Mangala in January but, according to the Daily Telegraph, the club are in advanced talks with the £30m-rated defender and his team-mate - a defensive midfielder.

The newspaper also claims Bacary Sagna is a confirmed target for Manuel Pellegrini, with the Arsenal full-back available on a free transfer in he summer.

Pellegrini spent £100m in the summer bolstering his attacking options, with Alvaro Negredo, Jesus Navas and Stevan Jovetic all arriving at the Etihad. But having already lavished huge sums on players such as Sergio Aguero, Robinho and Fernandinho, City have failed to sign a world-class defender since Sheik Mansour completed his takeover of the club in 2008.

The spending has contributed to City being included among a number of clubs who have been told to agree settlements for breaching financial fair play (FFP) rules.

UEFA's club financial control board (CFBCB) has made offers to all the clubs deemed to have breached the rules ahead of its meeting on Thursday.

The clubs, which the Press Association reports total fewer than 20 and include City and Paris Saint Germain, can either accept the offer of the sanctions - which could consist of a reprimand or fine or restrictions on the squad for European competition next season - or they could try to negotiate a lesser punishment.

If no agreement is reached, then the outstanding cases will go to an adjudicatory panel for a final decision.

It is not known what settlements each individual club has been offered but UEFA could reveal the outcomes as early as Friday.

The most powerful sanction - exclusion from European competition - is not expected to be used against any of the clubs, with UEFA president Michel Platini telling Le Parisien last week: "If you are expecting blood and tears, you'll be disappointed."

UEFA and Manchester City both declined to comment but City boss Manuel Pellegrini said last week there had never been any concern that the club would be excluded from the Champions League for breaching FFP rules.

City have been working closely with UEFA to try to ensure they comply with spending rules, which limit losses to £37 million (45m euros) over the last two years. They have posted combined losses of almost £149m for the past two seasons - £97m in 2012 and £51.6m in 2013.

But Pellegrini said: "I felt here inside the club nobody feared we could be suspended for next year."

Qatar-owned PSG have been the club under most scrutiny after they wiped out their losses with a huge and back-dated sponsorship deal with the Qatar Tourist Authority. Platini had said last week he was unsure if that "innovative" sponsorship deal with a related party played by the rules.

"I will say simply that Paris St Germain's financial model is distinctive and atypical," he said. "That image contract with the QTA, the tourism office of Qatar, is innovative, that's all I can say. But is it viable? Is the value of the contract correct? These are questions that the experts must decide."

PSG president Nasser al-Khelaifi recently told Canal Plus that he did not believe his club had breached the regulations, saying: "We're well within the UEFA rules. There's no problem. We'll see, we're talking with UEFA. I'm very confident."

Le Parisien reported on Tuesday that PSG intended to negotiate a fine with UEFA.

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