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Manchester City Says It Will Slow Spending as Team Improves

Feb. 26 (Bloomberg) -- Manchester City, the English soccer club owned by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, said its record-breaking player acquisition strategy is only a temporary measure to take the team to the level of the sport’s elite.

Mansour has spent more than 500 million pounds ($805 million) on the team since acquiring it in September 2008 from former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. Most of that money has been spent on revamping the team by buying players like Carlos Tevez, Edin Dzeko and Mario Balotelli.

The club’s accounts for the year ended May 31, 2010, published by Companies House today, confirm figures released by City in October, and show it lost 121.3 million pounds, 31 percent more than a year earlier, on player salary and acquisition costs.

“It is safe to say that player acquisitions on the scale we have seen in recent transfer windows will no longer be required in the years ahead now that we have such a deep and competitive squad,” Chief Executive Officer Garry Cook wrote in the foreword to the accounts.

Still, the club has spent millions since the accounts were filed. Dzeko joined for 27 million pounds in January, while Balotelli, David Silva, James Milner, Yaya Toure and Jerome Boateng signed in the summer off-season for more than 100 million pounds.

The spending was the highest in England’s top division for the second straight year. City said in the accounts it’s looking to improve its balance sheet ahead of new financial rules established by European soccer’s governing body UEFA by expanding its income to balance its spending.

It said revenue from sponsors and partners grew 400 percent to 32.4 million pounds on the back of deals with the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority, Etihad Airways and Etisalat. UEFA said it will monitor all deals to ensure they’re at competitive prices and not inflated to boost revenue figures.

Managed by Roberto Mancini, City is in third place in the Premier League, behind Manchester United and Arsenal. If it finishes in the top four it will play in the Champions League for the first time in its history next season.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tariq Panja in London at tpanja@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Elser at celser@bloomberg.net

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