According to a report in the Daily Telegraph Manchester City could be on the verge of completing their year-long pursuit of Shakhtar Donetsk central midfielder Fernandinho quickly after sealing the signing of Jesus Navas. If the deal goes through, it will be a critical statement of intent and ambition from Manchester City in a transfer window in which they are in danger of being marginalised by the likes of Monaco, Real Madrid and Chelsea in the spending stakes.

If they get him, coupled with Navas, it will give their attacking play a fresh new impetus and off the field will show that they still have the ambition and wherewithal to compete for the biggest names. There are serious questions to be asked about the fees they’d have laid out to get them, but on the field they would be upgrades.

Fernandinho is a central midfielder by preference, although he can, if needed, play deeper in a 4-2-3-1 as the playmaker in the Schweinsteiger/Xavi role. What Fernandinho has that none of the other City midfielders have is a full passing range and an ability to set a quick tempo in the passing game, roving around the pitch looking for the ball and looking to set attacks in motion.


James Milner, Gareth Barry and Javi Garcia all offer hard work and endeavour but precious little quality. Yaya Toure and Jack Rodwell are box-to-box players capable of getting the odd goal and making tackles but don’t have the variety of passing available to them that Fernandinho has. He would bring something genuinely different to a City midfield that looked one paced last season and overly reliant on the attackers producing a moment of magic. Fernandinho even has a highlight reel of long-range goals. So there is no question he would be a good signing football wise, and the same can be said of Jesus Navas. But with City, there are always issues with finance.

UEFA’s new Financial Fair Play rules come in to force this summer which means that clubs have to be careful what they spend, and should be tougher when negotiating to buy players. Of course, if you are buying from a club that doesn’t need to sell or are bidding against other big teams, the price will go up. The likes of Edinson Cavani and Gareth Bale are examples of this. The price can go sky high because the selling clubs are either relatively wealthy or have many clubs bidding. But, this isn’t the case with Fernandinho or Navas. Sevilla have said that City were the only club bidding on Jesus Navas, and they were surprised at how much they got for him; £22m in the end. Not only that, but Sevilla have financial troubles so surely could be been brought down a bit. In the case of Fernandinho, Shakhtar are a wealthy club but have been open that they would let Fernandinho go this summer. The Brazilian has a £42.5m release clause. The Telegraph believe a compromise fee has been reached but if this turns out to be anything over £20m it is far too much. As with Navas, they are the only bidders and Fernandinho has said he wants to play for them.

The final puzzle about these moves, is the age of the players. Navas is 27, Fernandinho is 28. City are spending what is expected to be around £45m on these two players but may only get four or five years service from them. This will be the most they ever cost, and they will depreciate very quickly. City already have a lot of expensively bought players who have lost their value, which looks horrible on their Fair Play balance sheet. These moves make football sense, but no financial sense.


  1. Why exactly are there serious questions to be asked about the transfer fees?
    They want £42M for Fernandinho, which we aren’t willing to pay, the fee will likely be around half of that.
    Navas’s initial fee is around the £17M mark, neither of these are exorbitant for the qualities they’ll bring?

  2. You think £34m for a 28 year old non striker doesn’t need questions asking? Also, if Navas only costs £17m it means he’s a failure as he won’t have unlocked any of the accelerators. Plus, as I said in the article, they are going to lose all re-sale value very quickly.

  3. Nice reply, yet failing to answer the salient point of what exactly are these serious questions?

    £17M for a proven Spanish international is great business, but I guess we could have bought Jordan Henderson for the same fee. It’s an initial fee, so you can’t say we bought him for £22M or whatever fee you dream up, as that might never come to fruition.

    The fee for Fernadinho hasn’t been released, already the media are stating anything between £15-40M. What on earth does it matter that isn’t a striker?
    Don’t all players devalue over time then?
    But why are these two especially going to lose re-sale value quickly?
    Don’t you think at those ages, we aren’t thinking re-sale and that we will be their last major club.

    There were no other bidders for Navas, as the player explained we struck early, four months ago to be exact.
    When both Navas and Fernandiho have come out publicly and expressed their desire to sign for City, prior to any contract or fess agreed, how many others would you be expecting to bid?

    ‘But with City, there are always issues with finance’
    Sums up your biased tripe wonderfully that.

  4. I should make it clear that my reference to ‘re-sale’ value is specific to the club’s Financial Fair Play balance sheet. In two years time that Fernandinho figure, if confirmed as £34m, is going to look really ugly as a pure sunk cost. However, as I said, on the pitch they will be excellent additions to an already loaded squad.

  5. I don’t get the rationale of a ‘pure sunk cost’ though, as though we aren’t getting something for whatever fee we pay, I actually thought we might get a football player as part of the deal.
    Either way, City will do just fine under FFP.

  6. At HeavyRiffs: (I can see your comments but don’t have publishing privilege) Contrary to your perception I actually quite like City. Their emergence has freshened up the Premier League and brought excitement to the transfer markets. If Navas has properly overcome his homesickness and Fernandinho can adapt to the rough and tumble of the Premier League then in reality the finance probably doesn’t matter a whole bunch. The sub-point of the article, second to the main point which is that Fernandinho has everything City need and could be fabulous signing, was just to explain the implications of FFP for City.

  7. I completely get that, so it might have come across better to just say they’ve signed two players, they may or may not work out. You seem happy with the quality they bring, your main sticking point appears to be their transfer fees. In anyone’s book, Navas at £17M is an absolutely fantastic piece of business. We both also agree that Fernadinho is also a class act, you want quality, you pay a premium.
    I think the main thrust of your piece though, was that City hardly negotiated and merely stumped up the cash. If that were the case, we’d be paying £43M for Ferdy, as that’s his release clause.

    I come in peace.


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