Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Could This Chelsea Reject Do A Job?

While it may be tempting to write about refereeing decisions today, or write a few hundred ridiculously over the top panic filled words about the wheels coming off at City I have chosen to do neither, firstly because yes, we all know we should have had a penalty, and on the second point, well come on, let's not be stupid and start worrying about one defeat!

Instead I have been thinking about our defence, and more specifically the depth in that department.  I have been impressed at times with Stefan Savic, but I think it was reasonably well demonstrated at Loftus Road that he isn't the finished article and for me there are huge question marks over Kolo Toure regarding both his ability and his commitment to the club.  I would not be surprised to see is move for a central defender in the January window, and a name I would like to throw into the ring is Alex Rodrigo Dias da Costa, or just Alex to you and me.

The Chelsea defender had a transfer request accepted last weekend and I think he could definitely do a good job for us.  It is quite inexplicable why he has fallen out of favour at Stamford Bridge, he may not be the most glamorous defender, but he looks more competent in that position than is compatriot Luis. 

At 29 the Brazilian has good experience and still retains the immense strength and arial ability that first alerted Chelsea in 2004 when he moved from his native country where he was playing for Santos.  He spent three years initially on loan with PSV in Holland before becoming a full member of the squad at Stamford Bridge in 2007.  Since then he has never been a regular but has always been an excellent back up  whenever he has been required.

He is now not even a bit part player and despite winning one league title and two FA Cups he has been deemed surplus to requirements - I think Chelsea's loss could definitely be our gain.  The fact that he is transfer listed would suggest that he would be available for a cut price and since he would only be used as a 3rd choice that is clearly a bonus.

He is not a long term solution or long term replacement for Joleon Lescott (not that I believe he needs replacing) but I would much prefer to see us spend a smaller amount of money on Alex as opposed to breaking the bank on someone like Gary Cahill, who in my opinion has flattered to deceive throughout his top flight career so far.  The Brazilian may not be the most exciting option but I certainly believe he could do a good job without costing the earth.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

A Rallying Cry To City Fans

I think it is fair to say that most City fans today are disappointed, I certainly am.  It was always going to be a bit of a lottery getting out of our Champions League group, but other than our visit to Munich I genuinely believe we made a good fist of it.  Our haul of 10 points should have seen us through, even before a ball was kick that was the figure that Roberto Mancini said would be enough.

The facts are though that it wasn't, and I don't think anyone thought that Villareal would end the group stage with no points, before the first round of matches it was assumed they would take points of someone, hopefully for us Napoli, and if they had managed that we would have gone through.  It now seems remarkable that the Spanish team were seeded 2nd in our group with the extremely dangerous Italians 4th.

Now though our attention turns to the other European competition, the ugly sister of the glamorous and glitzy Champions League, the Europa League is ready and waiting for us.  Thoughts seem to be mixed on the competition, some have said it is a good opportunity for our second string, and gives our first team a chance to rest up rather than playing 2 games each week.  I am not so sure that personally I would go along with this.

As I was driving away from Eastlands last night, I was listening to various Manchester United fans acting as if the sky was falling and the world was ending, one even suggested Ferguson should leave his post at Old Trafford.  This ridiculous over reaction was followed by a call from a City fan, sadly I do not remember her name, but she spoke sense.  She quite simply said the Europa League is a trophy, and we are capable of winning it, so lets go for it.  As we all know we haven't won a lot these last 35 years, so why should we turn our nose up at a competitive trophy, especially a European one.

It appears that Roberto Mancini sees the tournament similarly, and hopefully we will give it our best.    The Thursday/Sunday games are annoying, but it is not the end of the world, my understanding is that it is a similar amount of games in both competitions from this point therefore if we were happy to play twice a week in the Champions League, why not in this competition?

Clearly we have a squad capable of winning the it, our strongest competition will come from our neighbours but really they are nothing to fear any more.  Therefore I urge everyone to get behind the team, and lets try and go all the way in this, its another trophy and we shouldn't look down on any competition victory in my mind, and most importantly of all, it is probably our last chance to win it, since we won't ever play in it again.....

Friday, 2 December 2011

Rumour Mill: United 'Wonderkid' To Cross The City?

Don't worry, it isn't Ravel Morrison, but according to numerous press reports fellow United youngster Paul Pogba could be on his way to the blue side of Manchester.

The midfielder was bought from French club La Havre 2 years ago in exchange for a few Mars bars and a twix.  The actions of United were questioned and in fact the players former employers reported the Old Trafford team for making an illegal approach for the player.  Ultimately Sir Alex Ferguson and the club were cleared of any wrong doing, but could all that work be for nothing?

This isn't just rumour mongering from the tabloids, there has been mooted suggestions for months that all was not well for Pogba at United and with 6 months remaining on his contract there is no sign of him renewing.  Whether it is a lack of first team opportunities or just greed on the part of the player and/or his agent isn't exactly clear, but for some reason negotiations appear totally stalled.

What is known though is the reputation that the 18 year old has.  His name has been thrown about for over a year now with members of the press and United fans telling anyone that would listen that he is essentially the second coming.  Maybe it is the sceptic in me, but I do have a couple of doubts over that, I am sure he is a good player and he could be as marvellous as people tell me, but if he was that good would he not have made more appearances for the first team than he has? Sir Alex is not normally afraid of throwing young players into the mix if they are good enough, so why not the Frenchman?

Either way the story seems to be gathering momentum.  The basic facts are these, from January onwards the player will be free to discuss a deal with any clubs that wish to sign him, there would be a fee for United, set be a tribunal, however traditionally the figure awarded is always incredible small (as happened to us with Sturridge).  The Independent believe that negotiations between player and club are not showing signs of successful conclusion alerting many interested parties.

The list of suitors appears to be long and contain many of the biggest clubs in Europe, with Arsenal, Inter and AC Milan all monitoring the situation closely.  The paper though reckon it is City who might have the best chance of agreeing a deal with the player, and that is down to the presence of Patrick Vieira, Pogba's hero.  The 18 year old has been likened to the World Cup winner on numerous occasions and there are definite similarities in their game.  Vieira plays an important role in player recruitment at City and should Roberto Mancini green light a move for Pogba the former Arsenal man will no doubt be involved.

Clearly if the combative midfielder is as good as people claim his signature would be a real coup, but as far as I am concerned there could potentially be a darker side to this story.  I do wonder if we are being used by the player and his agent to secure a larger pay packet for the youngster at Old Trafford.  This interest from City and other clubs could force United to offer him a much improved financial deal than the one currently on the table.  There is no evidence to support that, but it is definitely a possibility, if it is the case expect to see numerous 'Wonderkid Snubs City' headlines splashed across the back pages.

If we focus on the positive however it would be a move that I would approve of (as if my input is worth anything!), we need to change our player recruitment model with FFP in mind and securing top talent at a young age for a good price would be extremely beneficial.  This one is definitely worth waiting on, and we will see just how far the influence of Paddy can reach.