Manchester City, until 2008, was the very model of mid-table obscurity. Never a great team, they went 30 years between championships (1936-37 to 1967-68) and were in the third division, or whatever the marketing geniuses call it now, as recently as 1996, before getting promoted twice in succession to land back in the Premier League, only to be relegated again in 2001. They returned to the Premier League for good in 2002-03.
Then, in 2008, someone grabbed the spigot labeled "MONEY" and turned it open with both hands. The Abu Dhabi United Group, backed essentially by all the oil money you can imagine plus more, took over the club and injected brain-exploding amounts of money into City at all levels. They have since morphed into an entity called City Football Group, and you all know what's happened since - City has been one of the most dominant teams in the Premier League, and is spending money like crazy, because it can.
This is not an Old Man Yells At Cloud rant about how money ruined the game; this is just a bit of history about City to set up today's news, which will either chill you to the bone or excite you, depending on who is on your Banker And Investor League fantasy team (Mine's called Too Big To Fail).
Today, you see, Manchester City, already the most well funded team in the world, announced a partnership with China. A Chinese investment consortium bought 13% of City Football Group, which essentially means that Manchester City's funding, which was essentially unlimited before, has now reached, if you'll pardon the expression, Fuck You levels of ridiculousness.
I'm not bitter about this - I'm sort of in awe of it, actually - but I will say this: When Arsenal end up finishing second to City for several years running, this will be why. When Arsenal don't buy (insert your favorite player's name here), this will be why. Is money ruining the game? No, as I said before. It is, however, inexorably changing it in ways that are not yet apparent - mostly in that England, where the 20th placed team makes more in TV money than the Bundesliga champion does, is setting the market for players the way Spain used to and the way Italy used to in the 1990's.
The market is already insane, this will just ensure it gets more and more insane. I mean, this deal alone covers City's wage bill and expenses; I know accounting isn't done that way, but that's an astounding little nugget of info to end on, isn't it?
The arms race is not just heating up; it's gone nuclear. It will be interesting to see how much Arsenal attempt to keep up.