The Real Trouble with Touré

The Real Trouble with Touré

It’s not often you get to revisit an old story as if it’s new. Back in October 2014, writing about the birthday gate scandal and all things Yaya (The Trouble with Touré), The Football Reflective concluded it was time to get behind a midfielder that had just provided 24 goals and pushed the team to a league and cup double. The recommendation was given while acknowledging his misdemeanours.

Like all bad offenders, trouble has reared its head once again.

The escalation to a standoff between manager Pep Guardiola and Yaya has been a few weeks in the making. As ever, the Ivorian’s agent, Dimitri Seluk, placed a pivotal part in proceedings. He fanned the flames when he said his client had been “humiliated” following his exclusion from Manchester City’s Champions League squad.

Going as far to claim the Spaniard would owe Touré a personal apology should the club fail to lift the trophy this season.

It was classic goading, that until now, Pep was right to ignore. A manager lives and dies by his big decisions but the world has already seen none will be shied away from during the reshaping of the Etihad outfit. It’s also reasonable to assume that like Joe Hart, Yaya would have been informed he was down the pecking order, and in his personal case, unlikely to feature in the UEFA squad.

Unlike Joe Hart, Touré and his agent lack any semblance of dignity or respect.

It had always been a suspicion that the birthday cake debacle was a rouse to manufacture a move when Yaya’s stock was at its highest. This time the pair needed to play a different game for the maximum financial return.

In the year that will see Paul Pogba’s agent earn more than Cristiano Ronaldo, Dimitri Seluk obviously fancied one last big pay day. The final milking of his own personal cash cow.

By remaining under the radar, appearing to favour the fight for his City place, meant the summer transfer window slammed shut, locking club and player in a £220,000-a-week contract. That is fine, it’s a two-way street. Contracts give security and in a perfect world are honoured by both parties unless a reasonable way to part is offered.

In 2014 City said they were not prepared to sell Yaya, hence, they used that binding contract to their advantage. Part of that choice would have been to assert authority over players, to prove the club couldn’t be dictated to. Back when they took that stance they were prepared to be out of pocket to make the point.

Seluk knows this, and knows last time his planned was foiled.

Rather than face a second defeat, he’s hoping he can create enough of a storm so that City pay off the majority of Touré’s contract, freeing up a move to another club. He could then sell the idea to the next club that Yaya should get an even larger signing on bonus in lieu of a transfer fee.

Any doubts finally have faded away: Yaya Touré and Dimitri Seluk are driven by greed first. Football interests come way down the list (below cakes and call girls).

In a desperate attempt to further incite the club, Seluk has made outlandish claims to The Mirror, calling into question Pep’s ability as coach. Claiming he inherited teams and didn’t improve Bayern Munich. Guardiola’s start to life in the Premier League has offered just a glimpse into the unique talent he possesses.

Pep hasn’t just improved Manchester City in his short time as manager, he’s reinventing the English game before our eyes.

Seluk’s attack comes at the end of Touré’s sick note for a migraine. They can be unpleasant but Pep has taken offence at the midfielder’s lack of courage to pick up a phone and tell him he was under the weather.

For a no-nonsense manager, the hint of silly games is enough to lay the law down fast. Reminding the world what his agent had said about humiliation, Guardiola demanded the team and fans receive an apology for those comments. Until that happens, Touré won’t play again.

It may seem that phase one of Seluk’s plan is complete – but he’d be wrong.

Manchester City can afford to let Yaya rot, albeit at the cost of £220,000-a-week, more than agent and player can afford to watch a whole season of football pass them by when the talent is in severe decline. Yaya was never the most mobile player and he’s no spring chicken. Time is working against him.

The club will back Pep with any decision. For too long bad attitudes in the dressing room have dictated performance on the pitch. No longer will this be the case. City have a General happy to exert authority over all of his troops. They’ll be no Carlos Tevez style climb-down here.
Yaya apologises or he will never pull on a City shirt again.

It’s a sad end to a player that should be remembered as one of City’s all-time greats. But Citizens value character, personality and correct application as high – sometimes higher – than ability. Despite his contribution over the years, Yaya Touré has failed with his traits as a professional.

The real trouble with Yaya isn’t his greed, or his conceited agent, or even his couldn’t care less approach to legacy.

It’s his stupidity.

Stupid to think he can win a war with Pep. Stupid to think he would benefit financially. Stupid to tarnish his legacy with City’s loyal fans.

It will haunt him in years to come, when as an old man, he realises all the cash in the world doesn’t wipe out the debt caused by the irrevocable damage these decisions have done to the game’s lasting memory of Yaya Touré.

Book Review: After You

Book Review: After You

The difficult second album, or in this case, the sequel to cash-in on the movie adaptation of the first. Jojo Moyes’s Me Before You was the sort of romantic novel (dare I say, “chick-lit”?) that transcended labels and made its way to the mainstream. It dealt with difficult subject matters like disabilities and euthanasia. Along the way Moyes managed to sneak the characters inside your heart so that by the end of the book it looked like your hay fever was playing up or you’d been cutting onions all day.

The tears this time start much earlier but they are ones of frustration. Apparently the author decided to pen a sequel because people kept asking what happened to Louisa Clark after the first novel. What was her life like after falling in love and having to watch the man pursue assisted suicide at Dignitas? How did she spend the wealth he’s left? Had she followed his instruction to live life to the full in his honour?

It was a complete tale. The happy ending, after such a painful story, was the hope Louisa would go on to lead a fuller life.
Or we can pause that thought and catch up with her working at an airport bar for a boss she hates, living in a paid-for but soulless flat, estranged from her family (being strict Catholics, they didn’t appreciate the suicide element).

Despite travelling, Lou hasn’t found herself by the start of After You. That journey from country to country left her feeling isolated. Just like before she met and fell for the deceased Will Traynor, she is lost and without direction. Except this time she has a bundle of guilt to carry around.

Had the book paused here and explored this loneliness, it could have built on the underlying themes that made Louisa’s character so strong and engaging first time around. You can feel her loss and how she is lost because of it.

Instead Moyes turns her disarray into a plot device which sees Louisa get drunk and walk along the edge of her rooftop balcony. When she is startled by a voice from behind her at the window, down she falls. A neighbours table and patio equipment help break the fall, her body and the novel lie in pieces below.

Cue the not-so-subtle additions to the cast list. A comforting male paramedic (we’ll need him for a love interest later), the return of her parents (near death is a good way to repopulate a dwindling cast), a support group to speed up the grieving process, and eventually, the return of that mystery female voice.

That turns out to be Lily, a precocious tearaway of a sixteen-year-old . . . and Will’s daughter.

Lily’s mother – never painted as anything more than a selfish, self-centred example of bad parenting – had chosen to refrain from telling Will about Lily. In those days he was a womaniser and it seemed he wouldn’t have cared. So Lily grew up fatherless, until her mother married, then became isolated as the unwanted step-child.

Upon discovering she has another family, she sets out to connect with them. Her research and endeavour leads her to Lou. Lily wades into her existence, a whirlwind or questions and trouble. Without chance to pause for breath, the girl is using her flat as a second home and turning her life upside down.

For the first half of the book, her interruptions leave little in the way for compassion. She’s the type of stranger any sane person would have sent packing. Seemingly thoughtless and on a self-destructive path, all she does is create havoc for Lou and fails to find the common ground with her father’s parents.

What makes these interludes harder to process is how moments that should make you gasp just bring about a sigh. And time becomes irregular. Entire passages are filled with language that makes it sound like months must have passed, to find out it’s been a little over a week. It’s the sort of forced progression that goes against the techniques used in Me Before You.

Then the first real bomb drops.

We learn why Lily has been so wayward. The reasons she has been edgy with certain reoccurring strangers and what has made her so tormented. Suddenly you feel angry for her and once again Moyes proves she can secretly plant little compassion seeds that are slowly watered as she tells a tale.

Lily and Lou are reunited after a painful period of separation and they start to move forward together, honouring the theme of the book, and Will’s message to “Live well.”

Although it appears Lou could be doing this at the expense of her own happiness, even to the extent of turning down a dream job in New York, proving that doing the right thing and the thing that feels right is often complicated and far from clear-cut.

It’s moving enough to cut Moyes some slack for the awkward love scenes and Lou’s descriptions (she has developed a desire to sniff things a lot) and baffling oversights. We’re supposed to believe she lived in Paris for months, picked up parts of the language but was bamboozled by the French naming of beef cheeks on a menu, only to later use the phrase in her narration, “entente cordiale,” as if it were an everyday occurrence.

But these gripes don’t ruin what was an ambitious attempt to breathe life into a story that had already been completed first time around. The scenes are sometimes forced, but overall Lou’s natural way and humour, not to mention her caring spirit, shine through.

The final sequences may be too over the top for some, it’s telling that Jojo Moyes has had her head in movie scripts because we get the big Hollywood ending. But it’s also clear she still has the ability to draw believable characters that pull on heart strings.

Will there be a third in the series? Probably. Let’s hope next time Lou manages to stay more grounded from the start.

Book Review: The Widow

Book Review: The Widow

In the foreword, author Fiona Barton explains how in her former life as a journalist, she would often sit in court and look at the wife of the accused. Was it possible a partner could ever know the monsters they housed? Were they blind or assisting? What went on behind closed doors in those darkest of relationships? Her debut novel explores the themes of trust and deception, ignorance and naivety.

The title of the book, The Widow, should make it obvious we aren’t going to sit through a courtroom drama. That may have been the real life setting that sparked Barton’s interest but the story starts with our protagonist Jean Taylor already alone, the main drama in the past. Her husband has already passed on after being hit by a bus. This would usually be enough to leave a life in tatters but we soon learn that the damage had been done a long time before.

Early on, the build is slow. This never becomes a strain, it is far too gripping. The inner detective wonders how her husband, Glen Taylor, ended up beneath a bus. Was he hounded? Pushed? The hints and breadcrumbs are left from one chapter to the next. But this isn’t a big reveal – or even that important. When the heart of the story unfolds we learn why Glen had become a figure of hate.

The novel doesn’t just stay with Jean’s point of view. When we are seeing the world through her eyes it’s always in the first person, present tense. The blanks and alternating perspectives are filled in as we switch between characters. These are always told in the third person POV, past tense.

The first is a reporter, Kate Waters. She breaks the barricade of TV crews and other journalists and manages to get inside Jean’s home. Her super trick was carrying a bottle of milk. The offer is a chance for Jean to tell her story, help put perspective on events that followed Glen around.

In these chapters we have no idea what the story could be or why a widow would still be in the public eye.

Through more backstory, breaking up into sections (The Reporter; The Widow; The Detective), more becomes apparent while raising further questions.

The reporter is Bob Sparks. He is a warm accessible character and trusts Kate Waters. In later chapters this helps weave the plot together as they share information. Through the arrival of Bob Sparks the meat of the story is revealed.

Glen Taylor had been accused of kidnapping a little girl called Bella.

There are times the police procedures can raise eyebrows. Such was the author’s eagerness to keep the story rolling by placing suspicion over Glen, she turns Bob Sparks into the sort of officer seen in Making a Murderer.

Rather than explore every avenue, the police become fixated on Glen Taylor until they are convinced he has to be the guilty man. Or was this just canny writing because by doing so doubts creep in surrounding the validity of each and every situation.

Bella’s mother plays the media circus, and in the light of the Shannon Mathews case it’s hard not to develop a distrust. Many times she is frowned upon, or verbally attacked, for leaving a child alone in the garden.

Glen is no doubt slimy but his seemingly manipulative behaviour toward Jean doesn’t make him a child snatcher. Jean herself begins to sound obsessed with the case. The unhealthy fixation on Bella, combined with a change of attitude from the early years to a more stoic then stern approach, has the reader asking Barton’s original question: How much does the partner really know?

The answers start to appear with Kate Waters performing the sort of investigative journalism the police should have been one step ahead of. That’s not to say Bob Sparks remains impotent throughout. His dogged determination and perseverance carries him to a path for the truth.

Eventually the backstories catch up to Jean’s present day narrative. The journey there is tense and there are many moments that become almost too uncomfortable to read. The unknowns surrounding Bella and the possible suggestions, often planted from years of media coverage about these type of distressing cases, create fear and uneasiness.

From a practical point of view, it helps raise awareness on how to keep our children safe. From a literary sense, it makes for compulsive reading and a memorable first novel for Barton.

Is DC committing Suicide?

Is DC committing Suicide?

Suicide Squad befell the same fate as Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. It started strong at the box office before second week drop-offs compounded negative reviews. In an age where everyone is a critic and the professional critics are ignored, it appears the dissenting voices are the loudest. With further doubts raised about the DC Extended Universe (DCEU), is the Warner Bros. led property starting to implode?

Before the cameras even started to roll on Batman v Superman, DC and Warner Bros. had their work cut out. They faced the unenviable task of chasing down rivals Marvel. The Avengers led superhero cinematic universe is a magnet for two things: cash and compliments.

Both of these can be attributed to the accessibility of the Marvel movies. From the opening feature in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), Iron Man, they have made no attempt to hide the comic book roots from which they grew. They have been easy going action films, driven by simplicity.

The peak was arguably The Avengers (or Avengers Assemble). It would have been easy to crowd the film with too many main players but Joss Whedon pulled it off using a blend of humour and a clear plot.

This love has allowed Marvel fanboys to escape the negative points within the MCU. Those that were quick to pounce on Suicide Squad are not so quick to discuss Iron Man 2.

Therein lies a fundamental problem: DC haven’t been afforded the time to find their footing or been allowed to develop their own style. They are judged harshly for not being Marvel, but equally derided if any element of the DCEU mimics the MCU.

Historically, DC films have carried a darker tone (we’ll ignore Catwoman) or more recently with Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy, been grounded in something closer to reality.

Man of Steel and Batman v Superman approached the arrival of superheroes in a more realistic manner than Marvel ever will. When given the chance to explore these themes in Captain America: Civil War, Marvel shied away. Unfortunately for DC, being a superhero flick in a time the market is over saturated, means they aren’t judged on their own merits but compared to the market leader.

And this is where DC seem to be turning the gun on themselves.

A dark tone can be well received, Nolan’s trilogy was hardly a mainstream cartoon like The Avengers, so DC were right to start their movies with a more serious undertone. The problem is, dark for dark’s sake is draining on viewers. Without substance it has a depleting effect rather than become tone setting.

That objectively observed lack of substance isn’t down to DC characters having an inability to explore larger themes, it’s because parent company Warner Bros. are being swayed to the Marvel mainstream.

This leaves them in no man’s land.

DC wants the popular Marvel share while retaining a more meaningful scope. It can’t do both and the cracks are beginning to show.

Suicide Squad was another film that some critics went after in a big way. Most of those observations were unfounded or unfair. It wasn’t a muddled mess nor depressing. It was a simple action flick that ran from start to finish without a hiccup. There were enough laughs, decent action scenes and enough character introduction to allow DC to now use the villains ad hoc.

But average isn’t DC’s aim and Suicide Squad took a big step to selling out.

It was a further step away from a gothic palette and real world influences on fantasy elements. Those things were still there, but delivered with less certainty. Unless it comes across forceful and confident, DC’s vision will be swallowed up by internet trolls and critics that are judging DC based on a rival’s blueprint.

Warner Bros. will point to critics often getting it wrong. Transformers has always reviewed poorly and taken home massive returns. Same with Pirates of the Caribbean. But these films are cash cows that don’t care about artistic acclaim. DC on film should be about satisfying the comic book fans and pioneering new visions for the big screen.

Long after the current superhero phase, Tim Burton’s Batman entries will still stand out as a turning point and The Dark Knight will forever be the benchmark. If DC decides to forgo long standing values to chase down Marvel for their share of cinema revenue, it will fail on all accounts.

Unless it stops worrying about box office returns and market share compared to Marvel, it will march toward a self-induced, slow creative death, in which it may never find resurrection.

Heart to Hart

Heart to Hart

If history is truly written by the winners, no party involved with the Joe Hart saga will be able to place anything on record. There are only losers as the situation plays out, drawing to an uncomfortable conclusion for the main protagonists.

The questions and doubt continue to reign. Is Pep Guardiola justified or making a mistake? Hearts break watching Hart face an uncertain future, Claudio Bravo arrives facing a lukewarm reception, and fans cry to the club’s better nature at the treatment of a true legend. Amidst the confusion, some answers are already obvious.

The first, and clearest, is that months before Pep pitched up in Manchester, Joe’s cards had been marked. A poor showing in the Euros acted as a catalyst to enact the bold step of removing England’s number one from the club. Most fans never expected to see Willy Caballero play for City again, all along Pep was plotting this exact fate for Hart.

Wednesday’s Champions League tie was the managers farewell gift, not a glimmer of hope that if Hart stayed he could fight for his place. This act made the manager contradict his former statement on Hart about being prepared to work with the ‘keeper to improve his game, if he stayed.

However, Guardiola shouldn’t be made into the bad guy here. He made a judgement call. All managers have to; the best ones aren’t scared to make the big ones. If he has politicked a little, it was to keep an air of professionalism when facing the sensationalist tabloid press.

If City fans harbour some dislike, it’s because of what Joe Hart represents rather than a judgement on his ability. He belongs to an elite group (Zabaleta, Kompany and Agüero) that appear to love the club. They get City. Pulling on the shirt for players like Hart has been about more than collecting a pay cheque or doing a job. It’s been a love affair.

And that love is reciprocated in the stands, as proven on Wednesday. In singing for Joe, the fans always brought to attention one uncomfortable truth. Maybe he wasn’t good enough? The reworking of the Billy Ray Cyrus song, “Achy Breaky Heart”, to “Don’t Sell Joe Hart” is now a self-fulfilling prophecy. Its existence a case for Pep’s defence when he’s accused of making a kneejerk reaction.

If Hart was beyond reproach as a top class ‘keeper, why did the fans feel the need to create this song for the benefit of a former manager? The doubts about Hart’s pedigree have been around for some time. He’s weathered storms in the past but a fresh manager had zero attachment to any member of the squad. Pep agreed with the doubters and acted immediately.

Bravo’s arrival is the nail in Joe’s coffin that had been halfway in for some time. City may well have upgraded – at a bargain price – and now make the step forward in Europe. But the Chilean can’t afford a less than stellar start to his City career.

Fans know he isn’t here for City. He’d play for Leicester City if Pep was manager at the King Power. That’s fine, but it says more about the future of the club and its detachment from core players, its fundamentals and values.

Aside from an attitude problem, an existing player at a top club, that has contributed heavily to championships and aided the growth of the whole organisation, should be given a fair chance.

Any areas of Hart’s ability that haven’t improved at an acceptable rate are down to coaching rather than his lack of potential or professionalism. Gaps in his game – like playing sweeper-keeper – can be blamed on the management, or lack of, from previous regimes. Do you really think Manuel Pellegrini ever tried to enhance Joe’s overall game? He didn’t even send his outfield players out with clear instruction.

Pep is in the unique position of being almost untouchable. He could finish outside of the top six and the hierarchy would continue to believe in his project. With such a period of grace he can afford to take six months to develop the players already in Manchester. Surely the club expect a manager on a contract that exceeds £12m-a-year to hone existing talent.

Not everyone that stood up for Joe Hart Wednesday night has always been an advocate of his ability. This doesn’t make them hypocrites. He has made mistakes and his distribution has been a poor aspect of his game that many have criticised over the years.

But he holds the record for number of Premier League golden gloves and any sense that Hart hasn’t improved over the years is ill-founded. It’s heart-breaking that the world will never find out what a bit of Pep polish could have done for a legendary City goalkeeper.

Instead of deciding to work things through, Guardiola has called time on matters.

It’s now like a relationship that doesn’t feel over but the other party declares is unsalvageable. The only thing the rejected person can see is how much there is left to fight for, how much can be saved. They picture a future with many more moments, rivalling the best from the past before going on to exceed those highs. Begging and frustration vie with confusion, clouding logic and analytical thinking.

The party cutting the strings is completely emotionally detached, to the point they lose sight of pure logic which leads to reinforced stubbornness.

You have to move on because there is no alternative but it leaves a void that never finds closure.

That painful gap in City’s heart will be Hart shaped. The fans and player parted ways emotionally, both powerless to stop the wheels that had been put in motion by others, but it wasn’t a comfortable farewell. It was awkward and the demands for reconciliation fruitless.

No future success will ever remove the memory of losing a legend before his time.

Homage to Revolution

Homage to Revolution

An unstable Europe, led by an unelected totalitarianism regime, is divided, facing an uncertain future with opposing fundamental ideologies, without a clear roadmap for moving forward. A fitting post-Brexit statement, proving the essence of history repeats itself, but one that sums up the 1930s world that George Orwell found himself.

Animal Farm is the best political allegory ever written. Nineteen Eighty-Four, his final novel, is almost prophetic. So what were the real life experiences that motivated him? Homage to Catalonia offers some insight into this, serving as a tool for him to recount his time in the Spanish Civil War.

If one is tempted to read this book for an exploration into intense battlefield activities, then it will not sate that appetite. There are rare occasions Orwell describes running the enemy line and taking ground, but as he explains early on, from his first-hand experience, war is mainly boring.

That’s not to say the young Orwell was eager to avoid conflict; his apparent bloodlust to kill a fascist may shock some. But that particular title for the enemy has taken on different ramifications over the years. Say “Nazi” and “Fascist” today, and two different responses will be evoked. To the Orwell of 1938, the evil was equal, the ideology just as dangerous.

It is this fear that means the option to not intervene was unthinkable. He joins the POUM and goes to the frontline with them. His original intention to write as a journalist passing immediately. What becomes apparent from the start is how ill-equipped the revolutionists are. After days of drill, he notes there is no weapons class because they lack any firearms to train with.

None of the disarray deters Orwell. Indeed, in the early chapters the rag-tag outfits parade the streets as a symbol for hope and change. Those that would oppose chose to wear working class garments to go undetected.

The accounts reflect, how after 115 days on the frontline, the class divisions have returned to the streets and the revolution isn’t as strong. During his leave from the front, he is involved in a stand-off, with opposing forces occupying neighbouring buildings, all with gentlemen’s agreements in place. Agreements he sees as fickle as the unity between parties.

Upon returning to action, a gunshot wound to his throat sees him leave conflict for good. He decides to depart Spain but the POUM are declared illegal and a suppression against their members means he has to evade detection. This further underlines the falsehoods and lies such wars bring about. He worries that those still fighting are being turned into scapegoats despite having honourable intentions.

Homage to Catalonia isn’t a perfect body of work, the language can become repetitive, proving, no matter the talent, there is a vast difference between journalism and storytelling. And his accounts here do not fill in the complete picture, he warns as much, but it’s an important snippet.

What is clear is the admiration he has for the Spanish people. Their generosity is highlighted on multiple occasions and he describes them as too noble (and albeit, too ill efficient) to serve a successful totalitarian regime.

His wider opinions aren’t explored in great depth. The arrival in Spain speaks volumes enough, and description included for democracy as the centralised swindling machine, shows he wasn’t fighting against communism, as he later would with words, but fighting with people to bring about change.

In time an extensive American propaganda machine would colour our perception of what communism was to the point it holds no value. In this raw, 1938 release, we see Orwell’s disillusionment with all methods to control the masses through misdirection.

That’s not to say he didn’t criticise the communist control of press but even papers back home in London failed to deliver true accounts, and on many occasion out-right lied about events in the Civil War. His views during this time have been labelled as Trotskyism but it’s fair to say Orwell had a democratic socialist heart that stood to fight totalitarianism.

Those efforts must have felt wasted in the immediate aftermath of his journey but sometimes making a stand is enough to ensure evil never wins. Franco may have retained power, but the damage inflicted from the resistance saved Spain in the long run.

By the time World War II arrived, Spain was crippled. Despite being in Germany’s pocket for over $215m of aid during the Spanish Civil War, they couldn’t align with a natural allied force. Even though Franco was receptive, he eventually submitted demands to Hitler he knew would be refused, sparing Spain further decline.

Without the anarchist’s intervention in the 1930s, Spain would easily have become an extension of Nazi Germany, possibly sending the whole world into a fascist state.

The fight for principles bared fruit in the passage of time.

Orwell couldn’t have foreseen how future decades would be shaped following his contribution to the Spanish Civil War but he strongly believed in standing against the opposing ideology. His future works would perfectly surmise complex political systems and falsities in simple terms. Homage to Catalonia lays bare the human cost of these deceptions and the lengths men will go to when protecting ideas.

Orwell demonstrates why revolution in the face of certain paradigm shifts is not only brave – it’s necessary.

What £100m means in Manchester

What £100m means in Manchester

The two clubs baring Manchester in their name have both spent big this summer. But that is where the similarity ends. In the centre of Manchester, Pep Guardiola has spread his cash as he rebuilds and reimagines The Citizens style of play. Over in Trafford, their new man at the helm José Mourinho, also faces a reshaping job. But he has decided to take a big, singular gamble. There is a reason for these two differing approaches.

The irony of United being the club to break the world transfer record, when it was “City ruining football” with their accelerated growth period, won’t go unnoticed with football fans around the country. But the protracted Paul Pogba transfer is the peak of a continued period of United high-spending.

Moyes, Van Gaal, and now Mourinho, have all been supported by the Glazers in the transfer market.

The ethics of a £100m move have been widely discussed. Regardless of opinion, the truth is football’s finance has been heading this way for a long time. The new TV money should have found its way back to the pockets of fans but this was always going to be difficult when chairman saw it as a way to increase the ransoms on their top players.

Juventus have only done what Everton have been trying for the last two summers, and this despite the Goodson Park outfit benefitting from the increased TV revenue and a new, presumably richer, owner. The Italian club have a tighter budget, if they hadn’t broken the world record fee with United’s money, Real Madrid would have stepped in and come close.

What makes the move murkier for United, are the reports the Frenchman preferred a move to the Spanish giants. A few eyebrows must have been raised from Sir Alex Ferguson to Sir Bobby Charlton, when the realisation hit home that a player who left for a tribunal fee, looked to be returning, somewhat underwhelmed, for a world record fee.

The debate about whether he is worth the fee is null and void. The moment a club are willing to pay a price, that is the market value.

What the Pogba debacle does, is detract attention from United’s net summer spend. The positive press campaign focuses on four acquisitions, one of them Zlatan Ibrahimovic for absolutely nothing. A player of such quality on a free transfer is more than a bargain, the only doubts surround his ability to step up from the tamer French league to the tough English season at the age of 34.

The other half of Mourinho’s summer quartet are Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Eric Bailly. At a combined fee of £68m they are hardly cheap supplements to the lofty pursuit of Pogba.

This is where the Manchester divide became a chasm over the summer.

As it stands City, who admittedly are still seeking reinforcements, have spent £114m and recouped £10m. Both of those figures are set to rise, with the imbalance increasing on the expenditure side of the equation.

For the price of one Pogba, City have brought in six new faces and still have over £60m to go before equalling United’s outgoings. This is without acknowledging the offloading process City are going through which is trickling some cash back into the coffers.

The reason the alternative approaches are so glaring is because both clubs had the same problem: they need complete overhauls.

José Mourinho even commented lately that he needed twenty players to undo the damage inflicted from the Louis Van Gaal era, and that his approach differed so wildly, it would take many new faces to adjust the style.

So why place all his faith in one big summer signing?

Because he lacks a luxury only Pep Guardiola can boast in the modern world of football: time.

The Spaniard holds a major advantage over José and it isn’t a bigger cheque book or even a better youth system. It’s the lack of urgency for immediate results. The Etihad board didn’t allow the Pellegrini era end with a canter to then make a kneejerk reaction with their long-term managerial target.

Guardiola knows he can take his time developing new signings like Marlos Moreno without fearing the need for instant success. That’s not to say he can fail to achieve minimum targets. Champions League qualification is a must to the big clubs. But even failure to meet that wouldn’t necessarily cost Pep his job.

Mourinho is breathing the air of a different planet. He is a proven manager that suddenly has everything to prove. After the Chelsea sacking, he can’t afford a slow start, let alone a disappointing season. He didn’t have the support of the entire United board but he was seen as a necessary evil.

That conjoined dilemma of club and man brought them together. Now they face a future where development gives way to desperation in the transfer market.

Mourinho is in the casino, play for high stakes risks, and Pogba is one big throw of the dice.

His inner-city rival can smile and take cab journeys with fans instead. He has the time to send players like Zinchenko and Gabriel Jesus on loan, not worry about Ilkay Gündogan’s lengthy injury, or bend to transfer fee demands he feels excessive. And all the time he works the current crop – whom many now seek redemption – into his mould.

Leicester proved last year that money doesn’t guarantee success, this season Manchester will see if patience pays dividends.