Manchester City faces Inter Milan this Saturday (7 p.m. GMT) in the Champions League final in Istanbul. The English club, whose owners come from the United Arab Emirates, can win the trophy for the first time in its history. This would validate his strategy while his rival, PSG, does not seem to find the right formula.
Published on : 09/06/2023 – 10:18Modified : 09/06/2023 – 10:23
Manchester City and PSG are two club-states and given the geographical proximity of their owners, neighbors in the Gulf, it is rather tempting to compare them. One has been under the UAE flag since 2008 and is run by businessman Khaldoon Al Mubarak. The other is owned by QSI, Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund, which took over the reins in 2011. Two “new rich” who changed in size upon the arrival of their new owners, but who opted for two different strategies to develop.
As explained Christophe Lepetit, economist at the Center for Sports Law and Economics,Paris Saint Germain has built a very large franchise, an important global sports brand by capitalizing on the city of Paris, its image, while Manchester City has built its growth and greatly expanded its empire by developing a timeshare strategy of clubs. »
The owners began to build a conglomerate, « the City Football Group, which partially or totally owns 13 clubs around the world, he specifies. There are Asian, South American and European clubs. This allows you to reach sponsors who would not be present with the sole presence of Manchester City, which remains the flagship of this galaxy. »
A lucrative strategy since the Mancunian club is the one that has generated the most revenue in Europe. Last season (2021-2022), its turnover stood at 731 million euros.
It should be added, however, that City, like PSG, has been worried and even sanctioned for non-compliance with financial fair play, a system put in place by UEFA to control club spending and prevent too much deregulation in the transfer market. Without major consequence since the English have been able to play in the Champions League each season.
Substantial resources and consistent sports management
Despite these constraints, the Citizens benefited from a decisive shift made by their leaders in 2011. At the time, the owners went to recruit the thinking heads of FC Barcelona – the benchmark at the time – to develop their project. A founding decision for Philippe Auclair, a specialist in English football: “ The involvement was colossal financially, but for the rest, the leaders left a free hand to football connoisseurs. They wanted to build a pyramid, and before transferring the players, they recruited the thinking heads of Barça, Txiki Beguiristain and Ferran Soriano, and then they got Pep Guardiola. »
The Spanish coach, who won the Champions League in Catalonia in 2009 and 2011, arrived in the north of England in 2016 after a stint with Bayern Munich. ” With Beguiristain and Soriano, Guardiola takes care of everythingcontinues Philippe Auclair. The owners take great care not to intervene.There is not a single player in the current squad who can be said to have been recruited to please the owners. Trust is mutual and those in charge of the sporting aspect have time. When things go a little less well, it’s not a disaster. But it’s true that for Manchester City, it’s been going for a long time! »
The results are there: seven Premier League titles won since the arrival of the Emirati owners in 2008. Five in the last six seasons. A rare performance in the most competitive championship in the world, which also bears the seal of Pep Guardiola, who patiently built his group.
PSG, a chronic instability
No doubt what PSG lacks, unable to work in stability. Despite an 11ᵉ title of champion of France (a record), the season was marred by many extra-sporting affairs and the Champions League still eluded him.
For Dan Perez, journalist at L’Équipe, it may be because the Parisian club seems to be in permanent improvisation: ” In Paris, one has the impression that nothing is simple. The sporting director does not always have full powers. He does not always agree with his president, he can even be changed at any time.
The president can also bypass the sporting director, or even the coach to promote players. Players have already helped oust coaches! “. He adds: “There are several communication channels inside the club.There are several decision-makers, even non-decision-makers. It’s unclear what the club’s guideline is. It’s a little confusing, but maybe a Champions League victory for Manchester City will wake up the consciences of the Doha side? »
Qatar, after having been focused on the organization of the World Cup on its territory at the end of 2022, saw its team still eliminated in the knockout stages of the Champions League (against Bayern Munich), despite the presence of its three stars Lionel Messi , Neymar and Kylian Mbappé in its workforce. Paris has already embarked on major upheavals for next season: the club is notably looking for a new coach (Julian Nagelsmann?) but has already completed the recruitment of several players. A sign that the recent failures may not have yet been digested.
Meanwhile, Manchester City and Erling Haaland are dreaming of a historic treble if they win the Champions League final this Saturday in Istanbul. For that, it will be necessary to beat Inter Milan of Simone Inzaghi, at the Olympic Stadium of Atatürk in Istanbul.