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Hughes reveals his transfer masterplan

Hughes at Barnsley preseason friendly

Hughes at Barnsley preseason friendly

Mark Hughes says his whirlwind summer of spending is over after the Club put his bold recruitment plan on fast forward and squeezed three years' work into nine months.

Manager Hughes presented his player wish-list and plans to overhaul City's playing squad to prepare for a challenge for the game's top honours at a pivotal board meeting in December 2008.

But instead of being expected to build his new-look squad over a period of four transfer windows as he expected, The Blues boss was given the green light to land 12 players in jut two.

He said: "You never say never in football, and you sometimes have to react to certain circumstances, but touch wood, we don't get any injuries that would change our circumstances.

"We are very comfortable with what we've been able to do. I outlined my plans to the board in December 2008, told them the players and the quality of players that we needed.

"Obviously at that point there was a budget allocated, but that budget was accelerated and we've done a lot of work in a short space of time - probably three years' work in nine months.

We've come close to getting almost all the players I spoke of in that meeting, which is fantastic - not just from my point of view, but for everybody connected with the Club.

Mark Hughes


It is no coincidence that Hughes has recruited players as much for their attitude and work ethic as their football ability as 2009 has transformed the make-up of his squad.

Hughes believes the December 2008 strategy, which has seen 14 players released, six sold and six sent out on loan since May 20, has given him a squad equipped to go up against the best.

He said: "We were often up against teams who had greater experience when we compared them, and we knew that was a factor last year when we didn't see games out. We had to address that.

"Along with the experience we needed players with a winning mentality, we wante to bring players with character and strength of mind, who were used to being around a winning culture.

"I think every one of the players who has come in has a different mentality to the ones who have left the Club. That makes the group demanding of me and more demanding of themselves."  
Hughes' canny acquisition of proven winners and experienced internationals has stunned football, but the manager stresses that it is the public face of an overall development plan.
He added: "There are things going on behind the scenes. The focus will always be on the players coming through the door, and that's understandable, but improvement is happening across the board at all levels to improve our standing in world football.

"We've acquired a lot of players through the market but investment is going into the Academy and scouting department. We'll be targeting players and developing them ourselves. There is a plan for the future and the Academy and scouting department is key to that.

The way that the football and business sides have been integrated is also key. I've been quite involved in the business side, that's the way the game is going today.

Mark Hughes


"A football manager has to have an understanding of the business. There is none of the confusion that can lead to conflict. I support their aims and the support I have received has been immense. It will be reciprocated."

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