By Marcus ChhanFollow @@MarcusChhan
When it was first announced Sheik Mansour had completed his purchase of Manchester City on in late 2009, nobody could have foreseen the impact his money would have.
Well, nobody except Italian manager Roberto Mancini. He took up the mantle in December that year following the controversial dismissal of Mark Hughes. A season and a bit later and the blue half of Manchester were celebrating the end of more than three decades without a trophy as they lifted the FA Cup - eliminating Manchester United en route to the final as well.
More money was spent that summer; expectations were raised accordingly. And Mancini delivered again.
In fact, it was the season of a lifetime for Manchester City fans in 2011/12 as they ended a 44-year wait to be crowned Barclays Premier League champions. Not only did City end the years of hurt, but they did it by inflicting some very deep scars on city rival Manchester United who at one point thought they had done enough to win the title, only to see it snatched away with virtually the last kick of the ball on a truly remarkable final day of the season. It was a sweet day for those who sing Blue Moon Rising.
So what should City fans be expecting for the coming campaign?
For a start, there will be a lot less spending in comparison to recent summers.
UEFA spoil the party
UEFA is concerned about the growing level of debt in European football - and hopes to ease the situation through its much publicised and talked about Financial Fair Play concept which requires clubs to take steps to break even on their balance sheets.
Under UEFA's new law - applied from this season - clubs are allowed to make losses of no more than £36 million over two years - with sanctions for offending clubs due to be enforced from 2013/14.
It has been widely reported that City lost around £197million in the 2010/11 season and therefore to stay within UEFA's new rules they need to have their average loss down to around £8million per season by 2012/13. It seems like an impossible task, but in reality it is achievable. You have to remember that City have no debt - unlike Manchester United - and their commercial income is growing at an enormous speed at the moment.
There is a ton of money coming in and as seen by their recent pre-season tour of Asia, the Barclays Premier League champions are in demand. This is not to say that they do not have a big challenge to break even - or at least make UEFA's initial £36million margin - and failure to do so could result in catastrophic sanctions.
UEFA have agreed eight possible sanctions for clubs that break the rules and they vary in extremes. For lighter offences European football's governing body will issue a warning or even go as far as withholding prize money. However, for more serious breaches of the Financial Fair Play regulations, clubs can expect to be docked points in the group stages of a competition, be restricted by the number of players who can take part in competition, be disqualified from a competition currently in progress as well as the ultimate sanction of withholding a UEFA license.
As a result, it has not been too surprising to see Manchester City so inactive in the summer transfer market so far as they go about the task of trying to balance the books. City players on huge wages who are just sitting on the bench - Roque Santa Cruz, Emmanuel Adebayor and Wayne Bridge etc - will no doubt have to be sold first before manager Roberto Mancini can think about adding new reinforcements to his title winning team.
Objectives for the season
Despite UEFA's Financial Fair Play rules potentially having a stagnating effect on the squad, Manchester City's current outfit is still good enough to fulfil the requirements for the coming season.
City will certainly want to build from last season's Barclays Premier League success but they are not likely to have set unrealistic expectations for the coming season.
City are about to find out that defending the Premier League title for the first time is even harder than winning it.
When you are an English club that has become as rich as City has in the time it has, every club in the country hates you but also fears you. When you are a club that has become as rich as City has in the time it has and won the league title as a result, every club in Europe hates you and wants to beat you.
A major trophy is now the minimum requirement for City, so if they were able to defend their Premier League crown while improving on last season's group stage exit from Europe; the campaign should be deemed a success.
City have the squad to do this because they have so much stability at the back - and when you have a steady defence it breeds confidence throughout the whole team. Goals may win you games but a solid defensive spine will win you trophies - and City have the best in the Premier League currently.
They have not one or two but four very good full backs with Micah Richards and Pablo Zabaleta competing for the right back position while Gael Clichy and Aleksandar Kolarov are the left-backs. In the centre Mancini has the absolute luxury of having both Joleon Lescott and skipper Vincent Kompany protecting England No. 1 Joe Hart.
Vincent Kompany. The club captain is already regarded as a legend by City fans for his efforts last season - including that winning header against Manchester United late in the campaign. While it would have been very easy to predict attacking players like David Silva and Sergio Aguero having another stellar season, we believe the form of Kompany will ultimately decide whether or not the club can build on last season's success.
Simply put, City have an embarrassingly high number of options to get their goals from but only one leader as great as Kompany. His ability to read the game, his confidence and focus were pivotal in City's title run last season and will be crucial again for the coming season.
Consistency is the key for any player and Kompany was certainly a regularly excellent performer for City in the last campaign.
"There are some guys who reach an 8 out of 10 level once every few games. They're good players, but great ones perform at that level and beyond every single week. Those are the players who will help teams win championships," Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand said in an interview last year.
"Talking specifically about defenders, the thing I've noticed is that the great defenders seem to get the other players around them playing better. All of the greats have been able to influence the rest of the back four and extract better performances from them. That's a massive quality to have."
Another massive quality City will have in this season will be Carlos Tevez. Finally settled - or at least as happy as someone like Tevez can be - the Argentinean will form a lethal partnership with compatriot Sergio Aguero. If not, manager Roberto Mancini always has Mario Balotelli and Edin Dzeko to look towards for goals.
Balotelli, in particular, is a figure who always seems on the cusp of producing a genuinely brilliant season to confirm his status as one of the top strikers in the European game currently.
City will take some stopping.