The ways things are going it’s impossible to rule it out mate.
I think it will always be possible to win the odd league every now and then.
But to be dominant and win multiple titles you need the cash.
You only have to look at the French or German leagues and see that other than PSG or Munich the other odd challengers end up selling their best players as they can no longer offer him the wages he wants and usually receive a bid they can’t afford to turn down. So they remain in a constant rebuilding process always looking for the next signing that will earn them a profit in a season or two.
That’s the main difference. Even if you agree that we sold coutinho to fund Allison and VVD the main point is that city would still sign Alison and VVD but get to keep coutinho. This gives them more options and protects them in case of injuries and loss of form. Also explains why the league cup, which is usually fielded by ‘second teams’ was won four years on the bounce by city because their second team is better than most first teams.