Hughes promised big money for players

MANCHESTER City manager Mark Hughes has been promised substantial funds for new players after taking over at Eastlands.

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

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 Gary Cook said: "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 City are short up front and recruiting a quality striker will undoubtedly be a priority in the transfer market.

Blackburn just missed out on European football for next season and, with City having qualified through the Fair Play League, that may have influenced Hughes' decision.

Meanwhile, former Bolton and Newcastle manager Sam Allardyce has emerged as the clear early favourite to take over at Hughes' former club.

Bookmakers make Allardyce - out of work since being sacked by the Magpies in January - odds-on amid suggestions he has been in touch with Rovers chiefs about the vacant post.

Former England boss Steve McClaren and ex-Blackburn striker Alan Shearer also appear to be in the running, while an intriguing choice could be Paul Ince, who has done sterling work with Macclesfield and Milton Keynes Dons.

Rovers chairman John Williams said: "We have enjoyed eight years of success and stability with Graeme Souness and Mark and now it is important that we build on our strengths. We must make sure it is three successful appointments in a row."

Williams, who allowed Hughes to open talks with City officials last week, paid tribute to the Welshman who brought big names like Benni McCarthy and David Bentley to the club. But it was his success in the transfer market with the likes of Roque Santa Cruz, Chris Samba and Ryan Nelsen that marked Hughes out as one of the brightest young managerial talents in the British game.


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