Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Sven's "Buy British" Strategy Going Well

News this evening that City have made their 3rd summer signing.

Once again, not a name that City had been previously linked with, but instead have swooped for 27-year old Brazilian forward, Geovanni on a free transfer and he joins on just a 1 year deal.

The former Benfica and Barcelona striker is perhaps best known for scoring one of the goals that knocked United out of the Champions League a couple of season's ago - excellent credentials for a City signing.

Having already signed Italian
Rolando Bianchi and Swiss Gelson Fernandes, Sven's plan for buying British players seems to progressing nicely.

Expect fellow Brits, Ibrahimovic, Martin Petrov, Lucho Gonzalez, Roque Santa Cruz, John Arne Riise, Ludovic Guily, Thiago Motta and Yakubu to follow to follow suite and sign for City shortly ;-)

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Another Chance for Corradi ?

After the end of last season, Bernado Corradi was probably near the top of most peoples' lists of players for a quick City exit, although some of you may remember that back in March I did this article about the big Italian striker when he was copping a lot of flak.

Sometimes, bringing a new manager in can re-vitalise a flagging player's career and I wonder if this may be the case for Corradi?

Having seen the action from this afternoon's 1 - 3 win over Doncaster, Corradi scored an absolute stunner. If only he'd done that a few times during the course of last season, the talk would have probably been about a contract extension rather than a quick exit.

I noticed that Sven singled Bernado out for praise in the post match interview which suggests to me that it's not a forgone conclusion that he will leave. Having said that, I'm sure if City get an offer that recoups the bulk of the £2m we paid for him, then he would probably go.

I'm probably going to suffer the wrath of many Blues when I say that Corradi should be given a chance with Sven at the helm. For sure, he's never going to be an Anelka, Henri or Torres, but with the right formation and some decent service from the wings, there's always room in any squad for a big, fearless "traditional" centre forward, which is exactly what Corradi is.

I think it was a bit unfair on Corradi that it seemed to be very fashionable and easy thing to rubbish him mercilessly last season. A few negative reports seemed to start a bandwagon, but despite his shortcomings on the pitch, he gave 100% and looked up for it in the wave of a lot of stick, much of it undeserved.

Maybe Sven will have the midas touch on both Corradi & Samaras. We've yet to see anywhere near the best of them. Last season they were hamstrung by poor tactics and played out of position by Psycho. The arrival of Bianchi along with Mpenza should really heat up the competition for the strikers roles. It'll be interesting to see who will rise to the challenge.

Before passing judgement, have you seen his girlfriend? Forget Nancy, a quick google on Elena Santarelli will explain all, including the games where he did seem to run out of steam, and who can blame him ;-)

There..... I've ignited the blue touchpaper..... now waiting for the fireworks.

City Line Up For Doncaster

The City team for the friendly at Doncaster has just been announced:












Subs: Johnson, Dickov, D Mills, Hamann, Hart, M Mills, Corradi

Sven seems to have been true to his word about putting out a strong line-up rather than sending a load of Academy players.

The side does seem to have a very familiar look about it though, with new signings Bianchi and Fernandes joining up with the squad for the pre-season Sweden tour.

After the last season, how many of us thought we'd see the likes of Dickov, Dabo, Hamann, Mills & Corradi in a City shirt again?

Let's hope we do better than last time we played Docncaster.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Why Take The Risk With Ljundberg?

Reports today that Sven is on the brink of signing Freddie Ljundberg for £6m is not good news in my opinion.

Ljundberg in his prime was a fantastic player, but now at 30 is not good value for that sort of money plus the high wages he'll almost certainly command.

Add to that the fact that for the past two seasons, he's been dogged by injuries and it doesn't look a particularly smart buy. If it happens, as it now seems it will, it is likely to end up in the same way as Reyna, Cole, Hamann, Fowler, McManaman etc with them spending more time with the physio than on the pitch.

We need to sign younger, fit and hungry players and avoid 30-somethings whose careers are declining, something City have made a speciality of over the years and it's never worked.

Sven should listen to Micah and sign Defoe instead - that would be a much better investment !

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Not Impressed By Transfer Targets

Now that the euphoria of Sven's appointment has subsided a bit, the attention is switching to the new signings.

I know that a much of the transfer speculation is generated by groundless media gossip and hype from desperate player agents, but I have to say that I'm a bit worried about a lot of the players we've been linked with so far.

Firstly, and I hope Sven and his team are reading this, please don't sign any United rejects - stories about the imminent signings of Richardson, Alan Smith, Veron, Beckham and Christ help us, even Phil Neville certainly sent my alarm bells ringing.

Sven's first priority has got to be on survival and make sure we don't end up in a relegation scrap again. Therefore, he has got to be very smart with his signings and minimise risks where possible.

What we need first and foremost is a core of quality players with a proven track record in the Premiership. What we don't want is to gamble everything on a load of big money continental unknowns that may or may not work out. City's recent history is littered with failed foreign signings and we can't afford to make that mistake again.

I've read with some concern the likes of Christian Wilhelmsson, Roque Santa Cruz, Steven Pienaar, Rolando Bianchi & Johan Elmander - one of these unknowns maybe, but not all of them! Hopefully, most of these names are just "spoilers" whilst City turn their real attentions elsewhere. I read with amusement that Bernard Mendy has been linked yet again - that's the 4th consecutive year I've seen that one !

Close to home, names including Dudek, Harewood, Ljundberg & Paul Konchesky seem to be cropping up a lot, but these are not the sort of signings many Blues will be expecting - we can do a lot better. Besides, we don't really need another 'keeper, we're already well covered with Hart, Schmeichel and Mentel.

Yakubu though seems a much better bet, although the reported £12m is taking things to the point of being ripped off, and that is something that Sven will have to weigh up carefully; £50m wont go far at that rate.

Hopefully, it's going to be a busy few weeks for City and if you guys have any decent suggestions, stick them on this post - you never know, Sven must just be "googling" for inspiration.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Isn't It Just Typical ........ ?

...... that on one of the most momentous days in City's recent history, the Rags have managed to steal our limelight with the signing of Tevez on a dodgy two-year loan, which for some reason seems to be the top sports story on Sky Sports News.

Just a coincidence - I think not

I'm saving my article on the new manager's appointment for another day, except to say welcome aboard Sven - there's a lot of expectation, but there's a lot of support for you too - don't let us down now !

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Weaver Exit Signals New Era

I've got mixed feelings about Nicky Weaver leaving City.

Although he's not yet 30, he seems to have been at the club for an age and somewhat of a permanent fixture during a decade of constant change.

To be fair though, Weaver was lucky to play as many games as he did last season and had it not been for an unfortunate injury to Isaksson, he would have had another frustrating season on the bench. Although during the season he showed what a good shot stopper he is, his command of the area, particularly with crosses still left a lot of cause for concern.

With Weaver, young Kaspar and emerging talent Joe Hart all now fighting for that No 2 spot, something had to give and unfortunately for Nicky, it was him.

Whether Sven wanted to quickly cut all linkages with the City of old as a bold statement of intent is unknown, but nevertheless Weaver's exit heralds a new era for City and is just the start of wholesale changes to the club and playing staff, something that is long overdue.

I'd like to wish Nicky all the best and thank him for all the memories, especially the infamous penalty shoot-out at Wembley.

I think we also need to pay tribute to his resilience and fighting spirit having come back from a series of injuries and setbacks which would have seen many other players throw in the towel and give up on their football careers.

Good luck at the Valley Nicky - you deserved a testimonial at the least.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Isn't It Amusing ? ........

............ that the City Website has just published a load of photos from today's 1st pre-season training session without a single reference to Sven being there for the 1st time (even if it is on an unofficial basis) ?

Shots of Sven and John Wardle watching the players being put through their paces have been splashed all over the Internet and shown on Sky Sports News, but strangely not a single reference on the City site.

It's not as if this is all hush-hush and that admission that Sven was at Carrington is somehow a big, dark secret - the whole bloody world knows about it, although if you were an alien visiting earth and only looked at the City website (highly unlikely that it would happen I know), you'd think it was just business as usual.....bizarre !

For those who haven't seen any of the photos check out the excellent Purelymancity website. There a link there and a very interesting article about Sven's approach to football psychology; it'll be interesting to see how that works on the City squad.

Anyways, let's hope that the takeover saga ends tomorrow with an announcement of Frank having secured the 75% of shares..... I can't take it much longer !!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

City To Take Hit On Striker ?

Mounting speculation that City are considering cutting their losses on mis-firing striker Georgious Samaras and are prepared to let him go in the summer sales for around £2m.

Big Sam has certainly not enjoyed the best of times at Eastlands since he arrived from Heerenveen about 18 months ago with just 8 goals in 50 premiership appearances.

I've been critical of Samaras in the past, but I think it would be a mistake to let him go for relative peanuts; even if we get Shinawatra's money, City cannot really afford to take such a big hit on a player that we paid £6m for and who still at just 22, has much unfulfilled potential

In Samaras' defence, Psycho played him way out of position for the most part; most people could see he was not a left winger, except for the previous manager it seems. Playing him in unfamiliar roles dented his confidence badly and he went quickly into a downward spiral.

I would say that with the new manager coming in, it would be worth keeping Samaras for a while longer, as he can hardly play much worse than he did last season and perhaps Sven will be able to rejuvenate his career.

If Samaras doesn't rise to the new challenge, then by all means show him the door in the January window. Alternatively, perhaps loaning him out to a club that's going to give him regular football could be an option.

In any event, until City appoint the new manager and signings have been made, the situation is pretty academic; he won't go unless replacements have been signed up.

Still No News .... Again !!

I cannot remember a more frustrating period than the last couple of months and for City fans it has been a real torturous time not knowing what's happening with the Club with constant rumour and speculation, but little action.

Another week has passed without a resolution to the ownership of the club and the new manager and as each day now passes,the patience of the beleaguered City fans will be stretched to the limit.

The announcement last week that Shinawatra had at last made a formal bid seemed to settle a few nerves and silenced a few doubters that the buyout would ever happen. Since then however, we have once again entered a period of inertia as Frank imperceptibly inches his way towards acquiring the magical 75% of club shares that will see him able to de-list from the stock market and allow Eriksson to take over as coach.

What seems a simple and routine share acquisition has not been helped by many small shareholders not receiving their offer letters and therefore not being able to sell up, even though they desperately want to. The activity on the PLUS market has been agonisingly slow with Frank stuck around the 70% mark and little signs of trading activity that suggests he'll hit the 75% sometime soon.

Just to add up the ante a little, there are reports this morning that Sven is hedging his bets by talking to little known Spanish outfit Recreativo Huelva about the managers job, should the takeover at City go tits-up.

Given all the uncertainty about Shinawatra and his sources of funds, I guess you can't really blame SGE for having a Plan B, but the news is not really what City fans need to hear at the moment and adds to the already saturated levels of anxiety and frustration.

I'm expecting a few more late twists in the tale before this whole thing is resolved one way or another, but all we can ask is that it sorts itself out quickly now. The latest from Frank's camp is it'll still be another 48hrs, but we've had a lot of 48hr windows over the last few months; time just seems to be elastic at the moment.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Torres Snub Highlights Problem For Sven

So we've tried to hijack the Fernando Torres transfer to Liverpool with an audacious £27m bid for the the Athletical Madrid hot-shot? Perhaps I'll wake up and find this has all been a dream.

Seeing £27m bid and City in the same sentence somehow looks uncomfortable and just not right given the lower reaches of the transfer market we're used to operating in.

I'm not sure how serious this alleged "bid" actually was though. It looks more like a PR stunt aimed at raising City's profile in the European transfer market in order to make a bold announcement that we're up amongst the big boys now.

On a more serious note now, the fact that Torres dismissed City's advances instantly without even bothering to talk to us is a timely reminder of the problems Sven may yet face trying to attract "galacticos" to Eastlands.

Sure it sounds like he'll have some financial muscle behind him. However, if and when he takes over the hot-seat, having money is one thing, the Club having enough credibility to convince top european players to come to City is probably something that's not going to happen overnight with players and agents too adopting a watching brief to see who signs first, before they are prepared to commit.

Reports this morning that Yakubu is now a target is probably much more realistic. A fee in the region of £9m is being talked about which seems better value than £27m gamble for someone with no Premiership experience and who could well flop as spectacularly as Morientes did. No point blowing over half the transfer war chest on one player.

Nothing much is going to happen until Shinawatra has acquired the magical 75% of club shares, which could take up to another week. Until then, expect us to be linked to every man and his dog.

Heady days for City fans at the moment, long may it continue !