Stoppage Time: City could benefit from a bit of stability
(Sports Network) - Jack Rodwell is not the kind of player that Manchester City has targeted over the past few years.
His name does not carry instant recognition with casual supporters, he is young and has not yet reached his prime, and the signing does not appear to be one that City has made simply because the club has the money to make it happen.
Over the weekend, the 21-year-old became City's first signing of the summer, which already represents a massive change in philosophy.
Since its takeover of City in 2008, the club's Abu Dhabi-based ownership group has sunk an exorbitant amount of cash into bringing in new players during each transfer window.
In the beginning it was understandable because Sheikh Mansour and the other members of the new ownership group were attempting to lift City from a middle- of-the-table side into one that could compete for a Champions League place overnight.
World-class talent flocked to City in waves like bugs to a bright light, and just like that, Manchester's "other" team was relevant.
Most of the signings like Sergio Aguero, David Silva and Yaya Toure have proven to be good buys, while a few, like striker Roque Santa Cruz, have flopped.
In the matter of a few years, City has gone from a team lacking talent to one that has almost too much competition in its ranks.
The options that manager Roberto Mancini has at striker alone are staggering with Aguero, Edin Dzeko, Mario Balotelli, Carlos Tevez and Santa Cruz, not mention the return of Emmanuel Adebayor from a loan spell at Tottenham.
Adebayor led Spurs with 17 goals in league play last season, and would start for just about any other team in England.
But Mancini stated over the weekend that the Togo international has no chance of seeing time in his team, and that it would be in his best interest to move on.
City is loaded from top to bottom and is coming off of a pulsating run to its first league title in 44 years, so why mess with a good thing?
The club already has more talent at its disposal than any other team in England, so by showing a bit of restraint in the transfer market, Mancini's men will have a chance to gel as a team, which they haven't had in past seasons.
With so many players coming and going at Eastlands there was never a chance for roles to be clearly defined because the roster was in a constant state of flux.
There is still plenty of competition for places in the starting 11, which should keep everybody sharp, but City will not have to go through the process of integrating a handful of new faces into its system and hoping that all the parts fit.
In Rodwell, Mancini has signed a versatile player who is capable of playing in numerous midfield roles, and one that will not demand to play everyday at the expense of disrupting chemistry.
The move also symbolizes a shift in attitude with City no longer so focused on bringing in players who will make significant contributions right away.
For the first time it appears that the club is not consumed with simply loading up from year to year, but instead has a real plan for the future in place.
Of course there is still time for City to make a big purchase like Arsenal striker Robin van Persie if the money in Sheikh Mansour's pockets starts to become too heavy.
But lately Mancini has spent more time trying to downplay City's role as title favorites than acquiring another high-priced player to fit into his team.
It has taken a few years, but City has reached the point that Sheikh Mansour envisioned when he purchased the club four years ago.
By not drastically altering his team again this season, Mancini is giving City its best chance to remain on top.