Sunday, 28 April 2013

Outs 'n' Ins.

Thank you for visiting my new (my first and ONLY in fact) Manchester City Blog. I hope you enjoy it; I hope to keep it updated on a fairly regular basis and if you do post comments (most welcome of course!), try to keep them fairly constructive and clean, hey? 8- )

If you spot any errors in my, “facts”, then I am happy for you to point them out in a constructive way and would, in fact, appreciate any updates/corrections - I don't claim to be a super-professional footy expert; I'm just a experienced Blue with an interest in our great game.

Bye-bye old, new, friend; see you again soon I'm sure...

So the Premier League trophy has slipped from the Blue of Manchester to the red of Trafford. Stings a bit doesn’t it? Well, perhaps a little…and that makes you realise just how utterly gutted they must have felt last May when...THAT...goal went in – something I’d not really thought about until after the Manyoo vs Villa game on 22nd April 2013.

Of course we still have to secure 2nd place and we’d expect our lads to be professional right up to the end anyway, wouldn't we?


Then there’s a certain trip to the ever-more familiar Wembley on 11th May. Shouldn’t the F.A. be considering changing the colour of those seats to sky blue by now? No? Too expensive? Well how about a much cheaper option changing every second seat to black; creating a black & red stripe effect? Oh well, just a thought… ;- )

Right, enough waffle (NURSE!). My first ever posting-article:

Bye-bye and buy buy.

Having already established that the season still has much meaning left in it, I want to look a little forward to, ‘close season’. Specifically, I want to look at the definite/possible outgoings and the likely/not-so likely...and ‘would love’ signings.

Okay, so…

“Definitely” standing at the Etihad taxi-rank (or Metrolink stop) in the summer are:

Out of contract and simply not required. One off the wage bill.


Out of contract but, for me, worth keeping on a 2-year deal. Has rarely let us down when asked to provide cover. By allowing him to go, I can only assume Mancini intends to bring in another central defender with less candles on the birthday cake. Good luck Kolo…but you’ve ruined our song now mate!

Alex Nimely:
Not much needs saying really. Just not gonna make it and I think this summer will see him off to pastures new.
Ditto as Alex Nimely.
Ditto again.
(Released – may get some cash for him…)

And the rest:

Joleon Lescott:
Mancini just doesn't seem that keen on him sometimes and that's quite baffling for me. Rarely does he let us down and he seems to work well with Vinny.

Having said that, Roberto has been picking him of late and, as if to prove my point; Joleon has been player very, very well indeed. But perhaps it's the age thing with Mancini; he does seem to be planning for the long-term future and why not. Past it at 30? Oh dear, I've had it then...

I'd love him to get a 2-year contract extention, which runs out in just over 12 months.
(Sale. £8M)

Scott Sinclair:
Does Mancini, the cool Italian, ever panic? If so, this was the result of that particular frenzied moment. I sort of feel sorry for the lad; never really given a chance to show his abilities but, nevertheless; I don’t think he has the quality we’re looking for these days.
(Sale. £5M)

I won’t go on about how, when Mancini signed the Bosnian, he should have changed our style of play to suit; going with wingers to supply the big man. That conversation has been done time and time again…and usually leaves most Blues agreeing on that particular error.

What I will say is, when we signed this guy I can recall how much I thought we were getting a very determined character; recalling, specifically, an interview about how he used to use almost anything as a football in the war-torn streets of his homeland. Like some of the poor ghettos of Argentina, that tends to character-build a person/footballer. How many times have we praised the determination of Argentine footballers who have graced the Premier League?

Of course all players, particularly strikers, thrive on confidence. But I have been left very cold on Edin since his many displays of ‘couldn’t care less’ when asked to do a job. No more so than just prior to kick off at Goodison Park – ANOTHER poor, recent display by Dzeko. His face and body language simply screamed, “I don’t want to be here!”. Well, I think he’s got his wish.

I can’t believe after all I’ve said about him that he is actually our top scorer this season (at time of this blog-posting). Played in the right way (there ya go; I’ve said it) he could be a regular 25 goal-a-season striker. But with the touch of a dizzy elephant, I won’t be sorry to see him go.
(Sale. £18M)

He’s good a free kicks. No, not like the Antoine Sibierski, “He’s good in the air”. Kolarov is good at taking free kicks…most of the time. And that’s about it. £16M for a left-back who can’t defend.

“He’s good at going forward”, we’re sometimes told. No he isn’t!

£16M? Lazio must have been creased up laughing at us for weeks! I really, really hope he’s at the front of the exit queue this summer; we’re desperate for quality cover/competition for Clichy.
(Sale. £10M? I’d take half that…)

He may not go so soon after arriving but I’ve stuck him in there in the hope that he will leave. I think most would agree that we should never have let de Jong leave but a far worse crime was Roberto (having to?) accepting 3rd best as a replacement.

He clearly wanted De Rossi or Javi Martinez as first/second choices – he tried like crazy all summer to land either of them. How would you feel, then, coming into a club knowing that you were, at best, a poor 3rd choice?

But apart from bursting onto the scene with a goal at The Britannia Stadium - along with a 2 or 3 half-decent performances since - for me he’s nowhere NEAR good enough.
(Loan/Sale. Sale price: £12M)

I think it all depends on his fitness/injuries. At 32 in July he’s no spring chicken of course but a fit footballer, for me, is certainly NOT past it at 32. Injury free, he could be a useful asset to have around for another season.
(Possible release, perhaps a sale of around £750,000 – do sales exist for less that £1M these days?)

5 or 6 weeks ago (from date of this post) Samir was a ‘dead cert’, for me, to be heading out of the exit door and, most likely, nipping over to France. Now, I just don’t know. He had turned into the new Mario Balotelli; all skill but no drive or application whatsoever.

The quivering bottom-lipped one needs to be loved by a father figure to perform well, he tells us. Well there must have been a whole lotta papa lovin’ from Mancini, Platt or Kiddo recently!

Keep playing like this 8 out of 10 games (no-one can be perfect) and I’d love him to stay (he’d also save us having to bring in a creative midfielder in the summer). If he ever starts to feel unloved again, I’d love to see the back of him just as much.
(Sale. £20M)

I still hold out hope that this lad can make it…and make it big at City. However, as much as I’d love to see him being given a crack once 2nd place is secured; I get the feeling that we won’t see him (unless you’re a follower of the EDS).

Another season out on loan beckons I think. It’s been said before; I’d love to see him on loan (perhaps ‘til Christmas) in THIS country this time; preferably in the Premier League but certainly no lower down than the Championship.
(Loan/Sale. Sale price: £7M)

So by my reckoning, that’s a LOAD off the City wage bill and a possible (and approximate) £80,750,000M coming in. Add that to the rumoured £20M that we got for Balotelli AND the new TV deal cash heading our way; that’s one HELL of a war chest!


First of all, here’s my list of what I think we need:

  • Left-back cover/competition for Clichy
  • Right back (if, Richards & Maicon’s injuries continue)
  • Central Defender
  • Defensive midfielder (if, and I hope, Garcia goes)
  • Attacking/creative midfielder (if Nasri goes)
  • A winger (left or right)
  • A striker (replacement for Balotelli)
  • Another striker (if/when Dzeko goes)
Not as big as the 'outgoing' list but still; the size of that fairly-long list might surprise some people. In fact, to some, it may even look like a complete team re-build...especially to sniping reds and certain members of the gutter press.

But on closer inspection – and for City fans ‘in the know’ of course - it’s not really anything like a major overhaul; just some fine tuning and 'catch up' after a summer of poor decisions the previous summer.

Now for some names:


Leighton Baines (left back) Everton:
Would be excellent cover/competition for Clichy. I’m not sure we’d keep both happy though but that’s what good Mangers are tasked to do these days so why heck not?
Chance of him joining City (from 1 to 10): 3/10
Approximate cost: £18M

Jetro Willems (left back) PSV:
Could be the perfect choice. At just 19 he may be less demanding about a permanent first team place than Baines at this stage of his career. And AT 19, he has a decent amount of experience at both club and international level.
Chance: 8/10
Approximate cost: £12M

Kyriakos Papadopoulos (Centre back) Schalke 04:
Recently linked with us, this Greek 21-year old could be the kind of signing Mancini likes. Again, like Willems, for his age he has reasonable experience for both club and country.

And, like Nastasic, he’s the sort of age Mancini likes for the long term vision; someone he can mould into the team for a long time to come. Looks composed, good in the tackle, a good reader of the game, strong and has some reasonable pace too.

Chance: 8/10
Approximate cost: £15M

I’ll leave ‘right-backs’ for now, in the hope…

Marek Hamsik (Attacking midfielder) Napoli:
What a double swoop (with Cavani) this would be on the Italian Club! We could, perhaps, negotiate a good price for the two! Then again, if we do sign Cavani they might not have the financial need to sell anyone else - nor, I'm sure, would they want to weaken their squad any further either.
Chance: 3/10
Approximate cost: £35M

Isco (attacking midfielder) Malaga:
Another small, creative and young Spaniard – RIGHT UP MANCINI'S STREET! It’s clear that with the often unreliable Samir Nasri; we can’t always expect David Silva to be fit to play EVERY game. So Isco might just be the answer, that’s if Denis Suarez doesn't progress (hope so) any further next season…
Chance: 7/10
Approximate cost: £32M

Omar Abdulrahman (attacking midfielder/winger) Al Ain:
We’ve been linked with this player a few times over the last year or so. He looks good…but then again I’m not sure what the standard of the UAE Pro-League is like.

Could be seen by some cynics (and they are out there yer know) as a politically-biased signing but that would be unfair on the lad, who seems to have a knack of scoring quite a few goals from midfield. And…why would we need to make a political signing? As indicated, I'm just pre-empting the cynics in case we do sign the Saudi Arabian, 21-year old...
Chance: 7/10
Approximate cost: £12M

Christian Eriksen (attacking midfielder) Ajax:
Another talented youngster with experience. This lad appears to only have a year left to run on his contract too and so could be more of a possibility than most.
Chance: 8/10
Approximate cost: £10M

Sven Bender (defensive midfielder) Borussia Dortmund:
The only defensive midfielder on my list. And if Javi Garcia DOES move on, this chap would be more than decent replacement, if the German side would be willing to sell of course.

As with a lot of defensive midfielders he does all of the nitty-gritty stuff…and Sven does it very well. He seems excellent at breaking up play…not least some good footage of him doing so vs City! Has 4 years to run on his current contract though and so the 24-year old, German international wouldn’t come cheap.
Chance: 2/10
Approximate cost: £35M

Marco Reus (winger/second striker) Borussia Dortmund:
Unlikely to be sold by the German side, this soon-to-be 24-year old is contracted until 2017. But he fits the bill. Young, but experienced; can create and score from several positions too.
Chance: 2/10
Approximate cost: £38M

Gareth Bale (wing-back/winger) Tottenham Hotspur:
The rise and rise…and RISE of this Welsh wonder is now known beyond our shores, I’m sure. However, that’s still no excuse for the some of the figures being quoted for the once left-back.

As Gareth has slowly moved further up the pitch – making left-wing his much preferred role these days – his price has rocketed along with his assists and goals. £50M? £80M? Even a £100M price tag has been mentioned for this 23-year old. That’s the way we like to ruin young footballers in this country - slap a huge price on as soon as their form 'kicks in'!

Would he be a dream signing for City along with the next (mainly right-sided) guy on the list? Of course he would. But he’d also soak up a lot of our spending power…even at the lower price of a mere £50M.
Chance: 1/10
Approximate cost: Take your pick; £50M to £100M

Alexis Sanchez (winger/forward – mostly right-sided) Barcelona:
When Mancini showed more than a passing interest in the Chilean when he was playing for Udinese, I did the obvious and looked him up on the Internet. Like Aguero, I wanted us to sign this guy at all costs…and was gutted when he chose the Spanish giants over us.

It’s no shame to lose out to Barca, of course, and neither is it any shame on Sanchez that it’s not quite worked out for him (by all accounts anyway). 50 appearance and 17 goals (at time of this posting) mainly from the wings and in such a great team is no bad thing whatsoever; and the powerful 24-year old would be perfect for us in my opinion.

Second time round; I reckon we’ll get him too!
Chance: 9/10
Approximate cost: £27M


Edison Cavani (striker) Napoli:
Unless we can’t agree a fee with Napoli (by all accounts personal terms have already been met), I’d be amazed if we didn’t sign the big man. Not quite as tall at Dzeko but with a far, FAR better touch.

A determined player too who looks good with both feet as well as being good in the air.
Chance: 9/10
Approximate cost: £50M

Radamel Falcao (striker) Atletico Madrid:
The highest praise I can give this guy is by saying that, every time I’ve seen footage of him, I can only ever think of Messi who looks better.

Most Blues I speak to would rather have this little fella over Cavani and I can’t disagree really. But assuming Tevez and Aguero are staying-put, that would be 3 very, very similar players up front. Cavani, on the other hand, would give us something a bit different.

Having said that, is it too greedy of me to want both? Do we have enough cash – baring in mind the financial fair play rules – the GET both? Remember, we need to replace Balotelli and, most likely, Dzeko…
Chance: 4/10
Approximate cost: £50M

Gonzalo Higuaín (striker) Real Madrid:
Another fantastic striker; a taller version of his countryman Aguero. And it’s no coincidence either that if we were to show interest in Higuaín, Real would probably want a like-for-like swap for Aguero. Is it really worth it?
Chance: 5/10
Approximate cost: Swap with Real plus a bit of cash going either way perhaps…

Mario Gomez (striker) Bayern Munich:
This guy goes on my list because the free-scoring, 6’ 2” striker is rumoured to want away from the German side. Some have been quoted as saying that he can be a bit of a moaning, ‘Billy Big Biscuits’ and if so, no thanks; we’ve gotten rid of Mario and may soon be getting rid of Edin too.
Chance: 2/10
Approximate cost: £40M

Christian Benteke (striker) Aston Villa:
One season wonder? It's hard to tell sometimes. Remember a certain Santa Cruz at Blackburn Rovers?

But this guy look threatening; when playing against Villa you have that feeling in the pit of your stomach that he can hurt the opposition if you give him a second...and that's a good feeling to have about a striker.

19 goals in 37 games for Genk and then 18 in 32 so far for Villa is some achievement in itself for a 22-year old; even BETTER when you think that it's his first season in the Premier League and has had to score those goals in a very poor & struggling team.

What a bargain at £7M he has been for Villa...possibly helping to save the Villans this season too!

Aguero, Tevez, Cavani & Benteke anyone? Small, quick 'n' nimble AND big 'n' powerful options? Looks good to me...

Chance: 5/10
Approximate cost: £28M

So there you go, a list of highly ‘probables’, ‘possibles’, ‘maybes’, and down-right ‘unlikelies’. We’ll definitely see some of those players leave and arrive over the coming months and they’ll be a few surprises too I’m sure.

What IS certain, is that we’ll see higher quality come in than the likes of Garcia & Sinclair this summer…and that Mancini will probably make a THIRD attempt to sign De Rossi.

He’ll be done for stalking if he’s not too careful…