If Manchester United do end up lifting their 20th league title on Sunday, it will arguably be one of their greatest – and certainly most dramatic – league victories of all time.
In a title race that has swung wildy one way then the other, the momentum if firmly with City, with even their most pessimistic of fans acknowledging that the title is well and truly in their sights.
To be honest given they have spent nearly a billion pounds in four years the Barclays Premier League trophy should be their minimum target and the fact United have kept in touch is perhaps to their credit.
But regardless of who finishes on top on Sunday, Sheikh Mansour is bound to get his chequebook out again and allow Roberto Mancini to run wild in the transfer market.
The oil money from Abu Dhabi has severely distorted the division, but before we throw in the towel we should remember that so did Roman Abramovich and his roubles.
Sir Alex Ferguson responded to the Chelsea threat but pushing his side and lifting them to another level, culminating in their 2008 Champions League victory. That proved there was more to success than money, though it definitely helps, hence United’s current predicament.
Since that rainy night in Russia Ferguson’s movement in the transfer market has been severely restricted. The Scot prides himself on bringing through youngsters and that policy has remained, if you consider the likes of Danny Welbeck, Tom Cleverly and the Da Silva twins have all worked their way into the first team in recent seasons.
But the Scot has also exploited United’s reputation as a world force by bringing in the best players from elsewhere. These aren’t always mega signings – Ronaldo was only just over £12million – but it allowed Ferguson to keep improving his side.
Since 2008 that hasn’t really happened. He has spent money yes, but not on the scale he used to.
With City’s mega-spending set to continue (I’m sure a Abu Dhabi-based sponsor will help get round financial fair play) the online betting markets are tipping them to dominate for years to come.
To once again rise above this latest challenge Ferguson needs to be given the freedom in the transfer market he and a club of United’s standing deserves.
Over to you Mr Glazer.