Eriksson gets spending power finally

During his five years as England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson would have yearned to sign the likes of Ronaldinho or Thierry Henry.

updated: July 08, 2007 07:23 IST
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During his five years as England manager when Sven-Goran Eriksson struggled to end the nation's 40-year wait for a title, how he would have yearned to sign the likes of Ronaldinho or Thierry Henry.

Now he can.

No longer in charge of a national team, Eriksson is back in club management with Manchester City - another team which has waited decades for success. It gives him the ability to make a splash in the transfer market along the lines of his spells at club level in Italian soccer.

The Swede was at Lazio when it briefly was the biggest spender in Serie A and rewarded the club by bringing its first Italian league title in 26 years in 2000. He was in charge when Lazio won the Italian Cup, the European Cup Winners Cup, reached the UEFA Cup final and also beat Champions League winner Manchester United to capture the European Super Cup.

That's what Manchester City fans are hoping as Eriksson tries to reclaim his reputation as one of soccer's top managers at the club level.

Among his 17 trophies, Eriksson also led Sweden's IFK Goteborg and Portugal's Benfica to domestic league and cup triumphs, guided Goteborg to a UEFA Cup victory and both Roma and Sampdoria to Italian Cup wins. He also took Benfica to the final of the 1990 European Cup - later renamed Champions League.

Although respected as a coach, Eriksson would not have been able to capture these titles without spending some of the club's money.

He won six titles at Lazio between 1997 and 2000 and, when he moved there from Sampdoria, he took Roberto Mancini with him. He also hired Argentina midfielders Juan Sebastian Veron and Matias Almeyda, Croatian striker Alen Boksic and Jugoslav midfielder Vladimir Jugovic.

Eriksson made Lazio arguably the best team in Europe with Diego Simeone, Alessandro Nesta, Sinisa Mihajlovic, Dejan Stankovic, Pavel Nedved, Marcelo Salas and Simone Inzaghi also in the squad.

Now that billionaire and former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has taken over Manchester City, Eriksson should have the funds to compete with big spenders Chelsea and Manchester United in the transfer market.

Title drought

That means the club that last won the English league title in 1968 and hasn't won a trophy since the 1976 League Cup should have the spending power to at least get into the top six and challenge for titles.

Since that last success 31 years ago, neighbor Manchester United has won nine league titles, eight FA Cups, the European Cup Winners Cup and the Champions League. While Alex Ferguson has been in charge for 21 years at Old Trafford, City has won nothing under 11 different managers, Eriksson being the 12th since 1986.

Right now, he might not be able to afford the likes of Ronaldinho or Henry or United's Cristiano Ronaldo. But there is speculation that Eriksson may get England winger Shaun Wright-Phillips back to City from Chelsea and tempt Nicolas Anelka to rejoin the club.