Manchester City achieved its second profit under its Abu Dhabi owners prior to a bout of heavy spending on players in the offseason which is aimed at title challenges in England and Europe.
As City disclosed its annual financial results, chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak said Tuesday that the Premier League club has started a “critical new phase” in the transformation that began with the 2008 takeover by Sheikh Mansour, a member of Abu Dhabi’s oil-rich ruling family.
Profits nearly doubled to 20.5 million pounds ($25 million) in the 2015-16 season, when the only trophy was the League Cup, prompting the replacement of Manuel Pellegrini as manager with Pep Guardiola.
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City did reach the Champions League semifinals for the first time last season, losing to eventual champion Real Madrid, but only finished fourth in the Premier League. The response was providing Guardiola with around 170 million pounds ($207 million) to lavish on fresh talent in the summer transfer window, including defender John Stones and winger Leroy Sane.
“I believe the 2016-17 season represents the beginning of a critical new phase in the evolution of Manchester City,” Al Mubarak said in a statement. “We know that we have the playing, coaching and off-field capabilities at our disposal to achieve great things in English and European football in the years ahead.”
City, which won the English title for the first time in 44 years in 2012 and then again in 2014, is top of the standings after eight games. City has never won the European Cup and Guardiola faces Barcelona in the Champions League on Wednesday with the team two points behind his former club in Group C.
City has had an uncomfortable relationship with the Champions League and competition organizer UEFA, which previously restricted the team’s spending and squad size as punishment for breaching Financial Fair Play rules following large outlays on transfers.
With limits on how much its wealthy owner can inject into the club, City has focused instead on generating more cash. City’s best Champions League run helped to drive revenue up 11 percent to a club record 391.8 million pounds ($478 million) in 2015-16. City’s neighbor Manchester United last month reported annual revenue of 515.3 million pounds ($628 million).
Manchester City is the dominant club in the City Football Group – which also includes teams in New York, Melbourne, Yokohama – and was valued at $3 billion last year when a Chinese consortium took a 13 percent stake.