Manchester City have booked their place in the Champions League final after an absolute hammering of Real Madrid at the Etihad this evening.
The gap in quality between the two sides on the night was stark. They outplayed their opponents in ever aspect of the game, with the 4-0 scoreline in no way flattering the hosts.
City will now surely win their first Champions League trophy this season, something that would cement their status as the most dominant club in European football.
Of course, this has been a long time coming. Backed by Abu Dhabi, Manchester City have spent a scarcely believable amount of money over the last decade-and-a-half. That was only taken to the next level under Pep Guardiola, who is about to award that investment with a fifth Premier League title in six seasons and a possible treble.
The club deserve plenty of credit for making the most of their resources, although some would have you believe that this is an overblown explanation for their success.
Richard Dunne makes questionable Manchester City claim
Richard Dunne starred at Manchester City in an era where they did not have unlimited resources. In saying that, he feels that this current squad is not one that simply blows their domestic competitors out of the water.
Speaking on Virgin Media after tonight's game, he suggested that there is no reason the other top clubs in the Premier League could not have assembled this team as the players involved were not out of their price range.
"Look at the squad tonight, Grealish is the only one that other teams couldn't compete with, because he was £100M.
"There's no one else that United, Liverpool or Chelsea couldn't afford.
Richard Dunne on Man City's transfer policy.#MCIRMA #UCL pic.twitter.com/sUUXLZae0Q
— Virgin Media Sport (@VMSportIE) May 17, 2023
If you look at the squad, Jack Grealish was maybe the only one that other teams couldn't compete with because he was a £100million and probably wasn't worth £100million at the time. Man City have turned him into a player now worth more.
If you go through the rest of the squad, there is nobody that Manchester United, Chelsea, or Liverpool couldn't afford.
Man City have got a plan with how they recruit people, how they do it, and what type of people they want for each position. Over the period of a couple of years, they have accumulated that squad...
Even with Kalvin Phillips, it was done on purpose because they need a certain amount of English players. He was an English player of a certain quality and not on £200,000 a week.
They don't make many mistakes. They maybe get a couple wrong at the start, but over the last three or four years every single player that has come in (has been a success).
You look at someone like Julian Alvarez, he came in for £15million and would be affordable for the whole Premier League and most of Europe, but City were the ones that went out and got him.
The biggest draw to Man City is Pep Guardiola, all the players want to play for him. The way he has evolved this team, even over this season, has been incredible.
I think what has helped him has been the signing of Haaland. Haaland can play one position and one style, so it restricts how much he can change the attack.
Who knew that a player who cost around £60million plus another rumoured £100million in agent fees, and was then handed the biggest contract in the history of the Premier League, could be such a help.
Of course, these claims are nonsense.
If you look at each player individually, you could argue that there is no reason why other top English clubs could not afford them. However, it is the ability to build a squad full of £50-£60million players that other sides simply cannot match.
Manchester City can afford to spend huge sums on a consistent basis and have little need to worry if signings do not work out. They simply discard them and move onto the next big name.
This is also without mentioning other aspects of their dealings, some of which have resulted in charges from both UEFA and the Premier League. The finances involved to sign many of these players could be described as 'complicated' at best.
City deserve credit for their transfer dealings in recent seasons, but to suggest other clubs are competing on a level footing is a nonsense.