Discontent running rampant at Man City

TIM KEEBLE, Sports Network

, Last Updated: 2:40 PM ET

On the surface, Manchester City would appear to be an ideal place to play, with a passionate fan base, a seemingly endless supply of money and a roster that is loaded with world-class talent.

Yet much like a dysfunctional upper-class family, appearances can be deceiving.

They might live in a big house, drive nice cars and wear nothing but designer clothes, but in reality, the entire family is miserable.

The husband works too much and cheats on his wife, who is well aware of the fact and becomes a closet alcoholic. And the child gets no attention from either parent and hates them both no matter how many expensive toys are purchased to buy their love.

City operates a lot like that, with manager Roberto Mancini looking over his shoulder every time his team doesn't win, captain Carlos Tevez turning in a request to be transferred, and millions of dollars just wasting away on the bench because the club has been treated like a little kid with extra Christmas money.

It might sound like a good idea to invest over $180 million in five strikers, but ask Tevez, Mario Balotelli, Emmanuel Adebayor, Jo and Roque Santa Cruz how it is working out.

Mancini no doubt appreciates the fact that his owners are willing to spend such exorbitant sums of money to improve the squad, but finding a place in the team for all of them is a different issue entirely, not to mention trying keep everyone happy.

Combined, Santa Cruz, Adebayor and Jo cost the club over $100 million, and they have made only 17 appearances and scored one goal between them this season.

Adebayor was one of the English Premier League's top scorers when he arrived at Eastlands in July 2009 from Arsenal, but after a good start to his City career he can now be seen sulking on the bench most weekends and waiting for a call from Mancini.

Santa Cruz cost the club nearly $30 million from Blackburn, but he has made just one substitute appearance this campaign and is desperate for a move away from the club in January.

Balotelli is an extremely gifted 20-year-old who signed from Inter Milan over the summer.

But he also appears to have the maturity of a 10-year-old, as evidenced by the fact that he stormed directly into the locker room in anger after being subbed out of City's 3-1 win over West Ham on Saturday in the second half.

Balotelli's addition is like pouring more gas on the fire, and the problem is that all the money in the world cannot put it out.

The announcement that Tevez put in a transfer request this past weekend was kind of surprising considering that he is the club's captain and an ever- present in the City lineup.

Yet upon further review, should we really be that shocked.

After all, here is a player who is just 18 months into a five-year contract with a team that is challenging for the league title, and he desperately wants out.

There is plenty of speculation about his motives, from homesickness for his family in Argentina, to problems with Mancini, to manipulation from his management team.

Some have said that Tevez is basically pulling a Wayne Rooney -- threatening to leave in order to get a new contract -- but the Argentina international has said that the problem stems from relationships with people at the club that have gone beyond repair.

Tevez said his relationship with Mancini is fine, but it now looks like the club will be forced to sell him in January, with teams in Spain and Italy reportedly lining up.

Veteran goalkeeper Shay Given lost his starting spot to Joe Hart at the beginning of the season, and he too wants out, which could make for a very different-looking City team at the end of January.

Despite all the unrest at the club, City has still managed to find itself just two points off the pace, a result of the club's pure talent.

But talent can take a team only so far before other intangibles like leadership and chemistry come into play.

Some clubs have worked hard to create a culture of winning, which each player seems to embody every time he pulls on the team's jersey.

At City, that light blue shirt currently represents unrest, greed and general discontent.


Videos

Photos