Man City’s Roll Call of the Quite Good

January 7, 2009

There’s a knack to spending large amounts of money, and Manchester City just haven’t got it, have they?

The names mentioned by the media as City’s current transfer targets represent a lack of imagination reminiscent of the post-title winning days at Blackburn Rovers, when Jack Walker’s millions were spent on players like Lars Bohinen, Billy McKinlay and Garry Flitcroft in a futile bid to build a team capable of challenging for the Champions League. 

It might sound harsh to describe Scott Parker, Roque Santa Cruz and the like as mediocre but in international terms that’s exactly what they are. Craig Bellamy and Matthew Upson have also been mentioned to add to the Roll Call of the Quite Good. Who next? Jermaine Pennant? Stewart Downing? Wayne Bridge? What was that? Well, there you go…

If you had, basically, all the money in the world to spend, which players would you go after? Would you set your sights on the likes of Parker, talented but with no real track record of achievement, just because they were easily attainable, or would you set your sights a bit higher?

Man City are the world’s richest club, according to the latest study, and it’s time they started acting like it. You can certainly build a good team with players like Parker and Santa Cruz, given enough time, but surely the sort of budget available to Mark Hughes should buy some instant excitement.

Man City must have an extensive scouting network and access to all sorts of inside information from agents on the players who may be available, but even without that you could come up with a more appetising list of targets:

1. Samuel Eto’o. Barcelona wanted rid of him before the start of the season and a huge salary offer to him might persuade him to move rather than sign a new contract at Camp Nou.

2. Carlos Tevez. Maybe he’ll sign a new deal at Man Utd. Maybe not. City should be waiting with platinum charge card in hand.

3. Iker Casillas. He’s loved by Real Madrid fans and he’s often said how much he wants to stay but could Real turn down an offer of 30 or 40 million quid for a keeper? I doubt it.

4. Franck Ribery. Bayern Munich are nothing if not pragmatic when it comes to money. They have no desire to let him go but what if City were to keep plonking bags of money down on the table until they said yes. How far would they have to go? 70 million? 80? 100?

5. Thierry Henry. He’s having a much better season, and of course he might not want to come to City, but Barcelona could do with the money.

6. Last but certainly not least, David Silva and David Villa at Valencia. Offer 100 million and Valencia simply could not say no.

So there you go, seven players who could bring the real galactico factor to Man City. Sign even just a couple of them and it might end in failure, but it would at least be a great big heroic failure for a great big club, which is a status City aspire to.

Who knows? You might even bring the best out of Robinho.

PHOTO: Manchester City’s new signing Wayne Bridge salutes the crowd ahead of their FA Cup match against Nottingham Forest in Manchester, Jan 3, 2009. REUTERS/Nigel Roddis


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Posted by Man City’s Roll Call of the Quite Good | TotalClubFootball | Report as abusive

a club like city should aim for what is achievable given there current possible and what is in the market and for you to write this pointless article of day dreaming is beyond me.

Posted by Osky | Report as abusive

I think the problem is prestige. When Chelsea suddenly came into money they had an image what with it being a posh area of London with the King’s Road. You could see players going there.
I just cant see why the likes of Buffon etc would want to go to a club in a rainy city which has never achieved very much and is near the bottom right now. Even if their clubs accept a bid, they dont have to go.

Posted by mark | Report as abusive

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Posted by Soccer Camps » Blog Archive » Man City’s Roll Call of the Quite Good | Report as abusive

Some good shouts there, but other than Casillas you’ve got no defensive players, and City need to sure up there defence big time if they want to hark back to their glory days.

Posted by Graham | Report as abusive

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Posted by Man City’s Roll Call of the Quite Good | Sports 40 | Report as abusive

Kevin Fylan I hope it was good money Reuters paid you for that article becuase it lacked any sporting journalist’s knowledge of the current city situation. If it was that easy for city to lure high class players surely it would have happened! You have been marked Mr. Fylan as a freelance fool

Posted by Matt | Report as abusive

Thanks for the comments so far, and please, keep them coming. I’ve got a tin hat I can put on.

Osky, the point I’m making is that City *should* be dreaming a bit more. If they concentrate on signing the easily signable they stand a chance of building a decent team, as long as they maintain patience, and perhaps playing UEFA Cup football for a few years. If they want to play in the Champions League, I really think they have to get better players. If it all goes wrong, at least it will be a fun ride.

And Matt, I appreciate it’s difficult to convince top class players to come, but it should be easier if they look outside the Premier League (the idea of signing Cristiano Ronaldo was indeed ridiculous) and if they look for clubs that need cash and have players who are perhaps unfulfilled where they are.

I should have made it clearer that I don’t expect City to sign seven players like the ones I mentioned, more like two or three. I don’t see why Silva and Villa should be impossible targets, and wouldn’t they be able to make Eto’o the sort of offer he just couldn’t refuse?

If anyone can think big, surely Manchester City can. If the best they can do is the sort of players being mentioned this week, I think that’s just a bit disappointing.

Posted by Kevin Fylan | Report as abusive

One other thing: Digging around for this article, I was reminded that Blackburn signed Flitcroft only after talks to bring in a young Zinedine Zidane broke down. What might have been…

Posted by Kevin Fylan | Report as abusive

It’s crucial that clubs like City are aspirational about the players they sign. If they have the money then they should buy or nurture the very best talent possible. When fans are cash-strapped this season and next, clubs are going to have to do more to fill their grounds every other week – attracting a few names from the top drawer could prove crucial.

City might not have the shiniest brand but it will never improve if they don’t raise their sights a little.

And Matt – you don’t even notice the rain after a while!

Posted by Beth | Report as abusive

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I look forward to reading Matt’s next article, whoever he may be. Matt shmatt.

Posted by Ned | Report as abusive

The Freelance Fool is surely not so foolish. Parker is a classic case of an OK player who can do an OK job for teams hoping to avoid relegation or, at a push, try for a UEFA Cup slot.
What they need is a player who has graced some of the biggest teams in the land and, being named as number 14 in British football’s player Rich List, obviously likes a good wedge.
Step forward Damien Duff.

Posted by des | Report as abusive

Tevez would be a good signing but he isn’t going to end up there – not in a month of Sundays.

Posted by meatandmalbec | Report as abusive

the missing link between city’s billions and its set of mediocre targets is probably mark hughes. he has said he wants players who can handle the premier league and that may be why he’s going for the likes of bridge and bellamy, rather than a bunch of fancy foreign dans who city already have (read nery castillo, jo…) and who aren’t performing. sure, he’d probably rather buy the very cream of world talent who could perform, but like others have said i doubt city can attract them yet. for me the most mediocre character is hughes himself – he’s been a backward step from eriksson – i bet he’ll be gone by the end of the season.

Posted by neil | Report as abusive

city like every epl team should invest in there academy bring young players thru the rank’s etc..barca milan juve roma. youth players from there respective country, english clubs like city are destroying football with all this money throwing around.fifa & uefa should impose a salary cap on how mush a team can spend.

Posted by tony | Report as abusive