City vow to back Hughes with cash

Mark Hughes begins his tenure as Manchester City boss today charged with recruiting new talent and securing the futures of several current first-team players.

Hughes will be unveiled to the media this morning after agreeing a three-year deal yesterday.

The former Blackburn boss replaces Sven-Goran Eriksson, who left the club on Monday after only a season in charge and is now coach of Mexico.

New executive chairman Garry Cook told www.mcfc.co.uk: “The club intends to invest in new players as well as securing the long-term services of key members of the current first-team squad.

“Mark has already identified some of the players and backroom staff that he wants to see here at City, and we will begin the process of recruiting them immediately.”

Hughes will take up his new position with immediate effect and is expected to be followed by his assistants Mark Bowen and Eddie Niedzwiecki with compensation already settled.

There is some turmoil in the dressing room with captain Richard Dunne unsettled and dismayed at the way contract talks unfolded as it became clear Eriksson was about to be shown the door.

Micah Richards, Michael Johnson and Stephen Ireland are among the younger generation who will need to be convinced by Hughes that City are a progressive club.

Hughes also knows that City are short up front and recruiting a quality striker will undoubtedly be a priority in the transfer market.

He has shown himself to have an eye for a bargain in that department during his time at Blackburn by drafting in Benni McCarthy then Roque Santa Cruz with no little success.

City are delighted to have secured Hughes’ services as Chelsea were also understood to be in the frame to appoint him after the departure of Avram Grant.

Cook himself has only just had his appointment confirmed by owner Thaksin Shinawatra and flew in from the USA to seal the deal.

Cook, who met Hughes on Tuesday night, said: “I am delighted to welcome Mark on board.

“In our view he is the brightest young manager in the game and he was our number one target for the manager’s job. He made it clear to us from the moment we met that he shared our vision and ambition to make Manchester City one of the top sides in the country.

“It’s a privilege to join Dr Thaksin here at Manchester City. There is no better opportunity in world football.”

Former City boss Brian Horton expects the new man to stamp his style on the team from the off.

“He’s had a bit of criticism about being strong and physical at Blackburn, but I don’t go along with that,” Horton told Setanta Sports News.

“I think you saw good, solid sides with some very good footballers there. He will try and play attractive football as he knows that is what City fans want. I think he will play with two strikers and be very positive.”

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