Friday, 17 August 2012

One Mad Week All Wrapped Up In One Place!

Well its been a hell of a week really, who said it was going to be a quiet Summer?  In the space of 6 days we have one a trophy, signed a player, entered negotiations for 2 more, seen the end of the longest transfer saga of the year, and finally appointed a new CEO.

I suppose the best way to approach this is simply to take it one issue at a time, so first all, the trophy!  Now of course if we had lost to Chelsea last weekend I would be referring to the Community Shield as the over-glamorised friendly that it is, but we won, therefore I am claiming it is somewhat of an achievement.  There is no need to dissect the game in any great detail as you will all have seen it live or at least the highlights, but there were a few things of note.  I suspected all preseason that the 3-5-2 we deployed was just to make use of the players we had available to us at the time, but the fact we used it on Sunday does suggest to me that we may see it get a run out as the season begins.

Using wing-backs would certainly utilise some of our players well; Kolarov down the left is much more suited to playing that role as opposed to an out and out full back, and on the other side Richards would prosper in the position, as would Zabs and Milner.  My only worry is that we are a bit short on central defenders, if Kolo Toure is moved on we are left with just Lescott, Kompany, Savic and at a push Rodwell and Richards to fill in, so using 3 players in that area could be a challenge unless further reinforcements are sought over the coming weeks.  As an attacking unit we were dominant throughout and even if Ivanovic hadn't seen red for his poor challenge on Kolarov I am sure we would have come through to win the game, and if it weren't for a particularly awful miss from Aguero at the end it would have looked a more impressive margin than it actually was; 3-2 suggests it was a close game, it really wasn't.

On the same day as the blues decamped to Birmingham, we also made our first signing of the Summer and it came out of nowhere.  News broke late on the Saturday evening that we were making an approach for Jack Rodwell, and no more than 16 hours later it was all signed and sealed.  Now, Brian Marwood may have come in for some criticism recently (unfair criticism in my opinion), but the fact that noone got any wind of this deal in the previous weeks suggests to me that he is at least doing something right.

Some raised highbrows and suggested it was an uninspiring arrival, that certainly isn't something I agree with.  At £12M (with future incentives), it is a fairly low risk deal by modern standards, and one that is definitely worth taking.  The former Everton man has bags of potential and has been blighted with injuries, but with our excellent medical set up I am sure we can get him firing on all cylinders.  Whilst he may not be a regular at the moment, Gareth Barry is not getting any younger, Yaya Toure has the ACON again and it would appear De Jong is on the way, it was therefore an important area to strengthen and with Barry and Toure to learn from I am not sure he could wish for better mentors.

Last week I wrote about our potential signings, well the ones in the press, I was ambushed with news of Rodwell days later!  According to the papers, moves for 2 of those continue a pace, whilst the 3rd, well, the 3rd is Robin van Persie.  The Dutchman has this morning been confirmed as a Manchester United player, something that has seemingly been coming for weeks, from our point of view though there are a couple of interesting factors at play.  Firstly, I am not being revisionist, but I simply don't see that United need van Persie, obviously he is a top player and will score a lot of goals this season (should he stay fit), however I would have been much more concerned had they strengthened in areas that they genuinely need to improve such as their central midfield.  If they had gone out and spent that money on a Yaya Toure type I would be far more worried about the threat they will pose.  Secondly, is the fact that it seems we were never actually in for the player, refusing to meet the price that Arsenal put on his head; that clearly demonstrates that the club are viewing FFP as something they must deal with, as opposed to taking the PSG/Chelsea approach.

As for further in coming players, deals for Daniele De Rossi and Scott Sinclair are definitely in the offing.  The Italian has been high up on Mancini's shopping list for a long time, and I suspect he is the man the boss wants more than any other.  According to Sky Sports his agent flew into England yesterday to discuss a package that would tempt him to leave Roma, whilst the papers today reckon we are willing to pay around £27M to secure his signature.  Clearly that is a huge amount of money for a 29 year old, but if he helped deliver another Premier League title, and perhaps a Champions League at some point I am sure we can all turn a blind eye to the fee and wages.  Last week it was a bit of a pipe dream, but now it seems like an agreement could actually be reached, watch this space.

As for Sinclair, well that is a really strange one. It appeared to have gone very quiet until today when there are more reports, admittedly in the gutter press, that the English winger is closing in on a move to Eastlands.  With the signing of Rodwell, it does appear that we are focusing on acquiring young English talent, and the wide man definitely fits into that category.  The sun reckon £5M will convince Swansea to sell the youngster who has recently turned down a new deal in South Wales; at that price I think it is definitely worth pursuing, we would bring in at least triple that by selling Johnson who would become surplus to requirements and we'd be adding some much needed pace to the squad at the same time.

Well as if all of that wasn't enough, we also have a new CEO!  The man who has stepped up to replace Garry Cooke is Spaniard Ferran Soriano, who comes to City after a spell with Spanair (which went bankrupt!) but more importantly a highly successful period at Barcelona.  It seemed 12 months ago that he was ready to take on the role, but after his airline went under the club appeared to cool on him.  After further investigations though it seems he has been deemed worthy of the position, and he seems like the ideal fit to me, he saw huge success on and off the field during his time at Barca and made the club huge amounts of money, something that will be extremely useful for us with regards to FFP.  The only issue left is whether he brings in his own man to replace Brian Marwood, something that has been mooted in the press, but either way it is great to now have a permanent CEO, not to belittle John McBeath who was doing the job on a temporary basis, but it seems better to now have someone doing the job on a permanent basis.

So there we have it, its been a pretty mental week and the football hasn't even properly started yet.  Hopefully we will get off to a winning start on Sunday, personally I can't wait for the season to get underway again, and not just because it will start to put an end to the rampant rumour mongering in the newspapers, journalists up and down the country will actually have games to write about as opposed to just writing spurious claims that they hear in the back rooms of pubs up and down the country!

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