Every summer before the new Premier League season starts, many millions of fans worldwide are busy and excitedly drawing up their own dream team for the many fantasy leagues. The players they would love to have, but, with a limited budget, can't always afford.
Manchester City fans may not have such a problem as they drool over the endless possibilities following the takeover by the Abu Dhabi United Group for Development and Investment (ADUG), the private equity group led by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed. With millions of dirhams said to be available there could be no limit to the big-name stars on parade at Eastlands in the future. Dr Sulaiman al Fahim, the public figure for the group, has already admitted they could provide a £540 million (Dh3.5bn) transfer bounty to fulfil their plans to make City the best team in the world.
With a minimum of 18 new players their target, that makes it an average of £30m (Dh194.6) for each player. The mind boggles at those figures, but the £32.5m British record fee for the Real Madrid striker Robinho has already proved the group are ready to back their ambitious talk with hard cash. The Brazilian admitted that was a factor in his decision to join City from the Spanish champions, even though Chelsea were also keen.
"I liked the plans that Manchester City have and I want to succeed with them," said Robinho. Fahim admits the group only want success, domestic and European. "We're going to change Manchester City forever," said Fahim. "There are a lot of other rich clubs in the Premier League and I think an extra team like Manchester City to compete against Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United, will add value to the whole tournament."
His words ring so true and City's new-found wealth also means Chelsea and arch-rivals Manchester United will not be able to take it for granted that they can buy all the best players. So armed with £540m, just what kind of a team could Mark Hughes end up with next season? He already has a good base to work from in the keeper Joe Hart, Micah Richards, Richard Dunne and Vincent Kompany in defence, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Michael Johnson and Elano in midfield, with Jo and his countryman Robinho up front.
But we take a look at a City fantasy XI and prices which could tempt their clubs to cash in and help City march towards Premier League and Champions League glory. 1 The Italian Gianluigi Buffon may be regarded as the world's No 1, but Iker Casillas is three years younger, has similar agility, experience and ability, and having been at Real Madrid all his career, the Spaniard might want a new challenge. Cost £25m.
2 It's no secret the Arabs love Brazilians and their attacking style of play so Dani Alves would be the top target for the right-back role. As he has only just joined Barcelona, his international rival Maicon at Inter Milan could be a good alternative, while the German Philipp Lahm is another. £25m 3 Ashley Cole hasn't found his best form at Chelsea and, after his departure from Arsenal, he is not averse to looking for a better contract elsewhere. On his day, one of the best left-backs in the world. But Patrice Evra at Manchester United and Eric Abidal at Barcelona can also offer pace at the back. £25m
4 Cesc Fabregas has the ability to become the best player in the world. A born leader, he shows immense maturity on and off the pitch. Despite not being impressed by Robinho's decision to call a press conference to announce he wanted to leave Real, Fabregas wants silverware and if Arsenal have another trophy-less season, he could be on his way to join the Brazilian. £60m 5 A big defender is almost a given in English football so Lucio fits the bill perfectly. Strong and decisive, the Brazil captain, 30, is keen on a change after four years at Bayern Munich. Of course, if ADUG want the very best then they might be better sticking to the Premier League, where Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic and John Terry have excelled. £10-30m
6 Youth and proven quality at centre-back are hard to find and rare to attract, but City could do worse than raid Real again for Sergio Ramos, who can also play right-back. Came to Madrid with a big reputation and is now settling down after making careless mistakes. £30m 7 Every team in the world want him and when he's on song, it's easy to see why. Cristiano Ronaldo is the best there is at the moment and Manchester United cannot wait to see him back in action after injury. But Fahim has already stated he's a target and to snare him from their rivals would be sensation for City. It would be hard to imagine it happening though. £120m
8 The Brazilian connection continues with Kaka. While AC Milan have done well to keep him out of the clutches of Real and Chelsea, an unbelievable offer would be hard to resist for the Italians, who would still have Ronaldinho and Andriy Shevchenko to provide star quality. Kaka would be a revelation in England. £70m 9 Strikers are worth their weight in gold and in Fernando Torres, Liverpool have their billion dollar man. But, like Fabregas, if the Reds fail to win the top prizes, will he be satisfied? He stayed loyal to Atletico Madrid for so long, but he's not in Spain anymore and there's a new team on the block who could offer him the success he craves. The Inter Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimovich and Sergio Aguero, at his old club Atletico, would be other, cheaper, options. £60m
10 To complement Torres, look no further than his Spain teammate David Villa. The pair were more than a handful during Euro 2008 as their country finally landed the big trophy. Villa is not at one of the big clubs at home either so Valencia could well cash in at some stage. A perfect alternative could be Carlos Tevez, who is only on loan at United with talks on a permanent deal not expected to be finalised until Christmas. Could City swoop for the Argentine? £30m
11 With Ronaldo on the right, the perfect balance on the left would come in the form of Lionel Messi. The Barcelona player, 21, can run the tightest defence ragged with moments of brilliance. It might be hard to prise Messi away as he has been with Barcelona since he was 11. David Silva at Valencia, Franck Ribery or Chelsa's Joe Cole would be cheaper. £80m email@example.com