On the same day that Manchester City owner Thaksin Shinawatra was arrested in his homeland on two counts of corruption, Manager Sven Goran Eriksson was talking about how Shinawatra's millions could help City become the next Chelsea. Thaksin himself has often spoke of his desire to make City as successful as its neighbor Manchester United.
The London Times points out that Eriksson is in a similar position with City as he was when he took charge of Lazio in 1997. Bankrolled by Sergio Cragnotti's millions, the Swede drove Lazio to the Serie A title three years later. Cragnotti spent $548 million in four seasons, during which time Lazio also won the European Cup Winner's Cup, the UEFA Super Cup, the Italian Super Cup and the Coppa Italia, twice. With that kind of spending, Eriksson hinted that City could achieve similar success. Thaksin spent $163 million to acquire the club last year, and a further $100 million on new players.
"There's a massive way to go, but ... I think it's realistic [to challenge for the EPL title] if the resources are there," Eriksson said. "Remember that Chelsea was a good team, but only started to compete with Manchester United and Arsenal when [Roman] Abramovich came in. That was a huge scale of investment, but Thaksin doesn't say that this season we should be competing with United and the others, he's talking about the future." The former England manager added: "In three years Lazio won seven trophies and that's thanks to the money and the ambition the owner had."