FindItMore | Manchester City are nervously awaiting the results of a verdict by the Court of Arbitration for Sports next week. The newly-crowned Premier League champions have been taken to court by Argentine club Velez Sarsfield over the signing of teenage sensation Benjamin Garre. City signed the attacking midfielder back in 2016, when the player was just 16 years of age.
Velez claim that the club’s advances towards Garre when he was just 15 were illegal, as was his signing before his 18th birthday. Velez claim that according to FIFA rules, European clubs cannot sign players outside the European Union before the age of 18. However, City are arguing that as Garre held an Italian passport at the time, his transfer from South America to Manchester didn’t breach any laws.
If found guilty, City could be banned from registering players for two transfer windows, which, as reported by the Telegraph, is the standard penalty in these type of cases. Garre, now 18, is highly-rated by the high-ranking officials at the Etihad Stadium, and is apparently on the verge of playing for the first-team. He has also represented Argentina at the U-15 and U-17 levels. His grandfather Oscar was part of the World Cup-winning squad back in 1986.
A transfer ban would be a hammer blow to City, who are looking to continue their spending spree in the upcoming summer. Despite splashing almost £480 million on players since arriving in England in the summer of 2016, Pep Guardiola is still not satisfied. According to The Sun, the Spaniard is targeting Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha, who is valued by The Eagles at around £50 million. The 25 year-old has been one of the most instrumental players in Palace’s revival this season, with seven goals and four assists in the league. After missing out on signing Riyad Mahrez in January, City are looking at Zaha as an alternate option.
Guardiola is looking to build a dynasty in the blue of Manchester, and his failures in the Champions League are something he will want to address. Despite looking like sure-shot favourites to go the distance in his two years in charge so far, City have fallen at the quarter-final stage on both occasions. Last season’s defeat against Monaco was completely unexpected, as was this time’s exit against Liverpool, against whom they lost both home and away. Despite having a whole wealth of talent at his disposal, Guardiola is still looking to add more.
According to an article in the Telegraph last week, City’s potential summer targets include Julian Weigl, Jorginho, Fred, Jean-michel Seri, Thomas Lemar, Mahrez, Toby Alderweireld and even Chelsea’s Eden Hazard. If even 50% of these names go through, their spending is sure to exceed the £200-million mark for the third straight year.
For now though, Manchester City wait anxiously for the verdict on whether or not they will be allowed to build the dream team they want to next year. While being a big disappointment to them, there is no doubt that the rest of the Premier League will breathe a huge sigh of relief if they are found guilty as charged.
David is a content writer who has written this article on behalf of Boxofficeevents.com which is a leading and authorized dealer in UK for football tickets.