From Berti to Tevéz, and Everything in Between!

Last time I blogged, City still had Darius Vassell, Danny Mills and lest we forget, Glauber Leandro Honorato Berti. Quite a bit has happened since then!!

I’m sure that many of my, ahem, thousands of adoring fans noticed a lack of blogging updates from here, so I apologise if you were left traumatised and feeling upset by this. Having been away for a couple of weeks representing my country in a worldwide sporting competition, I felt that blogging perhaps should take a back seat, so although the quantity of articles decreased, I sincerely hope that the quality in future efforts remains of a high standard. Just as a fore-warning message, due to school commitments, I plan on doing maybe only one or two articles per month, as opposed to my previous amount, which was rather higher and certainly more time consuming.

Anyway, where were we? Oh yes, still talking about Berti! How times have changed during this pre-season, the first full summer transfer window where City have had the opportunity to make full use of Sheikh Mansour’s many billions. At the time of writing, there have been a total of seven new arrivals at Eastlands, and about thirteen departures. Those seven include world-class stars such as Carlos Tevéz and Emmanuel Adebadhairday, but also the likes of Nils Zander, an extremely promising young left-back, signed form German side FC Schalke.

 
From Berti to Tevéz … A sign of the changing times

Any new season brings about certain levels of excitement, but there can surely not have been many other campaigns which have generated both the publicity and fervour that has accompanied the 2009/10 pre-season. Hopes are higher than ever before that the Blues can break into the ‘top four’ and unsettle the hierarchy of English football that has developed in recent years. Many City supporters, myself included, would be more than content with a top five finish, and that would signal a major achievement for the Blues. Disappointingly, our attempts to break into the upper echelons of the Premier League, something that has eluded the grasp of Tottenham, Evertonand Aston Villa in recent years, have been met with a wall of criticism, and in many cases, hypocrisy. The so called ‘experts’ of the game have declared that City are ruining world football by signing the likes of Gareth Barry for £12 million. Nothing has been made of the fact that Spanish giants Real Madrid spent £80 million, almost seven times City’s amount, on Cristiano Ronaldo, whilst also breaking the world record for Kaká. In addition to this, they spent over £30 million to acquire the services of former Liverpool midfielder Xabi Alonso. Despite his undoubted qualities, is the Spaniard really worth two and a half times as much as Barry?

Enough of my personal grievances, I now move onto news of City’s pre-season form. Summed up in one word, it could be described as ‘typical’! Before the game at home to Celtic, a match which saw the return of goalscoring sensation Georgios Samaras (that just shows how bad the Scottish League is), the Blues had played five games and recorded just a solitary victory. However, defeats to the Kaiser Chiefs and Rangers among others have failed to dampen our enthusiasm for the forthcoming season, but it would have been nice to see some goals and victories. By all accounts, we have performed well without getting the end results, but I’m fairly confident that Mark Hughes and his fellow coaching staff will sort things out before the season opener away at his former club Blackburn.

 
Samaras returned to face City, whilst the Blues were beaten by the Kaiser Chiefs

Talking of that encounter, City’s trip to Ewood Park will be a fantastic early test of the Blues’ credentials. Will our team, a combination of skillful and talented players, the likes of Robinho and Stephen Ireland, and experienced and reliable campaigners, such as Gareth Barry and Kolo Touré, be able to pull together and attain the three points? With this fixture being followed by a home tie against newly-promoted Wolves, City should be able to string together a couple of early wins and silence those doubters who believe that the Blues, as so often in the past, will fall by the wayside as our expensively assembled squad fails to gel together.

Generally, I’m delighted withthe nature of the squad that Hughes has built. There is depth in every department, and real quality at that. Let’s take the striking department for example. If we imagine that Hughes’s first choice pairing is Adebuyonegetonefree and Tevéz, then we still have two internationals, Roque Santa Cruz and Craig Bellamy in reserve. I challenge you to name any other Premier League sidethat has such quality in depth, and at that, such variety and choice. Having already considered this proposal, I would be mightily shocked of anyone was to come up with, and with reason, any group of forwards that can match or even better those at City.

 
WithBellamy and Santa Cruz in reserve, City are a force to be reckoned with

For all the talk that City have been signing players by the bucketload and ruining world football, the truth is actually far from the rumours. Any club that has aspirations of challenging for titles has had to spend masses of money in the process, so what City are doing is nothing unusual. Perhaps people are concerned and worried by our efforts, something that has clearly affected Sir Alex Ferguson. Remember his rant at the blue half of Manchester? The less than placid-natured Scotsman described City as a ’small club witha small mentality’. On the face of it, we should be concerned withsuch a description, but actually, this rant by Ferguson merely highlights City’s growing impact in football. Ferguson only ever has a go at clubs which are a threat to Manchester United. His public warnings and confrontations with Arsene Wenger, Rafael Benitez and José Mourinho highlight this fact, so Mark Hughes should feel proud that Fegie now classes us as a threat. The Scot never has a rant at the likes of Fulham, Middlesborough or Bolton, so it should come as a pleasant surprise that he even thought about City.

Anyway, enough of angry Scotsmen and back to our new signings. Stuart Taylor was acquired from Aston Villa for nothing and will be an experienced back-up in net for Shay Given. I believe that this is a shrewd move from Hughes who has let youngster Joe Hart find regular first team football on loan at Birmingham. In defence, City have made two additions, Kolo Touré and Nils Zander. The latter is a promising left-back whilst the former is a dependable and proven centre-back, who joined from Arsenal for close to £15 million. Touré is likely to slot straight into the City defence to partner Nedum Onuoha and will add solidity and know-how to the back four.


Touré joins City and will hope to form a solid partnership with Nedum Onuoha

In midfield, Mark Hughes has added the undoubted qualities of England international Gareth Barry, a snip at just £12 million. Capable of playing in central midfield, on the left wing or at left back, Barry will add experience and genuine quality to the City midfield. Already, in pre-season, he has linked up well with both Stephen Ireland and Nigel de Jong so things are looking bright for the Blues in the midfield department.

However, it is in the forward region where most of the action and excitement has centred. Three proven, talented and ambitious strikers signed in the summer, namely Carlos Tevéz, Emmanuel Adebayor and Roque Santa Cruz. With the former two joining from clubs higher up in the table than us, it represents a major coup for City that we can attract players of such a high calibre. The pursuit of Santa Cruz was a particularly drawn out one, starting last summer and ending when Mark Hughes finally snapped up his number one target. Formerly of Blackburn and Bayern Munich, the Paraguayan striker will add some much needed height to the forward line, and he will hope to remain injury free to secure his place in the side.


Watching these two next season should be fun!

Adebayor, scorer of 46 goals in 104 appearance at his former club Arsenal, will also add height and presence to the striking department. Capable of playing as a lone man, the Togo forward signed for about £25 million and chose the Blues over other footballing luminaries such as Inter Milan and Barcelona. He possesses a great first touch and fantastic close control, and those qualities, combined to his aerial ability, will hopefully lead to him scoring many goals this season. In all likelihood, he will be joined up-front by another player whose transfer was protracted to say the least. Ladies-man Carlos Tevéz, whose real name is actually Carlos Alberto Martínez, signed from Manchester United after his two year loan deal came to a conclusion. Despite the side from Singapore offering him a new contract, he plumped to join the Blues, citing their ambition and determination. His willingness to work for the team, allied with his natural goalscoring ability will make him a favourite with the Blues supporters, who gave their new hero a rousing reception when he came on as a substitute against Celtic.


Emmanuel Adebayor should sort out that deformity in his left arm

As previously mentioned, there have actually been more departures from the club than there have been new signings. Promising, young goalkeeper Joe Hart has been farmed out on loan to Birmingham for the season to allow him the chance to get first team football under his belt. Hart’s chances would certainly have been restricted while Shay Given is at the club, so I believe that this is a good move for all concerned. In defence, Danny Mills, Glauber Berti and Michael Ball have all been released, with Mills calling time on his playing career due to a knee injury. In addition, Shaleum Logan has been loaned out to Tranmere Rovers for the season.

The midfield department has seen three players leave the club this summer. Former Liverpool and German international Dietmar ‘Didi’ Hamann was released by the club after his contract ran out. The holding midfielder was castigated during his first campaign at city, but he showed his real worth to the team when Sven Goran Eriksson was in charge. Disappointed as I am to see Hamann depart, the move was inevitable really and I hope that he can find another role within football as soon as possible. Another player to leave was Elano, who joined Turkish side Galatasarayfor £7 million. Although mesmerising on occasions, the Brazilian failed to reproduce that brilliance with any regularity and quickly fell out of favour with Mark Hughes. With a reputation for being a troublemaker, Elano was always going to leave the club in the summer and I wish him all the best for the future.

 
Elano and David Nugent: Early shout for look-a-like of the season …

Deserving of his own paragraph is Swiss midfielder Gelson Fernandes. When, on 9th July 2009, he signed for French club As Saint-Etienne, it signalled the end of an era for City. No more booing at the ground, no more endless criticism on this website of Gelly, no more rants at his total inability to play football, no more disgruntledness at his passing!! Possibly the worst player ever to wear the City shirt, Gelson angered and and frustrated in equal measure. Declared as one of the brightest prospects in Swiss football when signed by Eriksson, Fernandes was about as good at football as a goldfish would be in a memory test! So Gelson, thank you and goodbye.

It is in the striking department where most of the outgoing action has centred on. In total, six forwards have departed from the club, either on permanent deals or temporary ones. Brazilian international Jo, who moved to Everton last season on loan, joins the Toffees again, this time for the whole campaign. Bustling Ecuadorian striker Felipe Caicedo, holder of the Premier League’s largest bum award, has joined Portuguese side Sporting Lisbon on loan, again for the duration of the campaign. Hopefully, the striker will score a few goals and will return to City a much improved player. The third player to move out temporarily is Bulgarian battler Valeri Bojinov. The striker’s City career was decimated on two occasions by serious injuries which curtailed bothhis two seasons at the club, but he did show glimpses of his potential at the back end of last year. This move, to Italian side Parma, will enable him to have regular first team football and to boost his confidence.

 
Valeri Bojinov, currently on loan at Parma, has put on a few pounds since his modelling days

Those moving out permanently are Darius Vassell, Ched Evans and Danny Sturridge. The latter of that triumvirate has moved onto Chelsea, with a fee between the Londoners and City yet to be decided by a tribunal. As reported in previous blogs, Sturridge was demanding a certain amount of money per week and City were not prepared, in any way, shape or form, to meet his demands. Evans, capped ten times by Wales, has moved to Sheffield United in the Championshipfor £3 million. The Welshman never really cemented his place in the City side and it was hard to see where he would have fitted in this time around, so his move is beneficial for all concerned.

The transfer of Vassellis an amusing one. Released by City at the end of the last campaign, the England international (that doesn’t feel write to say) moved to Turkish side Ankaragücü. This club are celebrating their centenary year and their chairman, Cengiz Topel Yildirim, declared that they wanted a marquee signing to celebrate this landmark achievement … so they bought Darius Vassell. 3000 fans reportedly turned up to see the former Aston Villa striker on his first day, so at least there are some people who Vassell pleases, although he will never be forgotten after scoring against Manchester United.

 
Vassell celebrates after scoring at Old Trafford but has now moved to Ankaragücü

So, overall in my opinion, it has been a highly successful pre-season for the Blues in terms of player recruitment and expectations. I’m sure than everyone is looking forward to Saturday 15thAugust, the date of our first Premier League match in the new season, so it is with high hopes and aspirations that I bid you farewell for this article. Please leave any comments below about your thoughts on the forthcoming season, our signings or any other aspect that has caught your eye. Thanks for reading.

14 Responses to “From Berti to Tevéz, and Everything in Between!”

  1. Jordan Says:

    Having toiled my way through the whole of this somewhat biased article I can only be bothered to point out one major error in your mind…you say(refering to adebayor): “the Togo forward signed for about £25 million and chose the Blues over other footballing luminaries such as Inter Milan and Barcelona.” If you had actually read what Adebayor said you would have realised that he would have preferred to go somewhere such as Barca, Chelsea or Manchester United (not Liverpool!) but they didnt want such a useless ogre.

  2. Simon Says:

    @ Jordan… erm, when did adebayor say that at all? also you are on a “MAN CITY” blog, did you not expect it to be abit biased, or are you mentally handicapped?

  3. Caicedo Vs. Richards showdown now looks somewhat less likely Says:

    Steven, nice article (again) - my heart broke to see Berti go. Jordan, Adebayor the “useless orge”? This is Eastlands, not Middle Earth. Go home to Salford and cry into your dirty MUFC pillowcase.

  4. footyjourno93 Says:

    Good to see you back Steven with a lengthy and entertaining article. And the Adebayor caption is brilliant!!!

  5. Steven Goran Eriksson Says:

    Thanks for all the replies.

    Jordan - as Simon says, this is a Man City blog so I hope you can understand why I perhaps write with a biased approach. I would hope that don´t want me to write as if I´m a united fan?!?!?

    MJ - Cheers, seems like Jordan has angered a couple of people

    Footyjourno93 - Thanks for that comment. It took a while to do but I felt that, since I hadn´t done one for a while, this needed to be top quality and I hope that it is.

  6. Macheda IS MY HERO Says:

    good article stevie! yep ure right about fergie considering city as a threat because you are! i think city have bought fantastically well and have not been ripped off! perhaps toure was quite expensive but top quality premiership defenders are hard to come by! I think if you buy lescott or someone like hangeland/mertesacker i’ll be getting scared. Im genuinely excited to see if this experiment works! i hope u knock the scousers out the top 4 that would be amazing!! just to see gerrard’s face when he’s not in europe! and yeah i hate madrid too…perez is ruining football! its blatant that the spanish government keep funding madrid!! matss gonna be gutted about ched! poor shout about nugent and elano. the tevez cruz caption should be beauty and the beast! lol
    btw singapore side….nnot cool! if we’re singapore than youre united arab emirates!

  7. I*T*P*L Says:

    Good read Steven, I spent ages trying to figure out what Adebayor’s deformity really is, but to no avail. I disagree on the Elano/Nugent one though, if you insent “worst” between “for” and “look-a-like of the season” that’s more like it. Is that really Bon Jovi? Have you stretched the recent picture to make him fatter?

    I wrote down where I predicted all the Premier League teams to finish and I have you in sixth, which I believe you should see as acceptable progress, but many Manchester City fans would probably be disappointed with. It takes time to build a great side, as your pre-season form shows, so you should be patient.

    Please read my Burnley preview and tell me what you think, particulalry regarding the layout, which is quite difficult on OSF.

  8. Steven Goran Eriksson Says:

    Thanks for the compliments VJ, and the constructive words. The deformity in Adebayor’s arm is actually an optical illusion. There is another players arm which looks as if it is joined onto Manu’s left hand side. It’s maybe not worded very well, but in basic form, I found the deformity/optical illusion amusing

    Although I vehemently disagree with you about your harshness and brutality towardfs my pre-season look-a-like effort, I can see that it’s not a great resemblance. Where is the picture you used for Nugent when you wrote about him on OSF? It’s the picture of him scoring in an England shirt, but I couldn’t find it anywhere. In that image, he was the spitting image of Elano, but never mind …

    That is honestly Valeri, and no, I have not made him look fatter in the second picture. I have merely made both pictures the same size, although in that process, I did probably accentuate Bojinov’s facial fatness!!

    Would I take sixth? No. That, presuming that the top four remained intact, would mean that another side, possibly Villa, Spurs or Everton, have done better than us without spending anywhere near the same level of money as we have. Although I expect to finish fifth and would regard that as a very impressive season, I would be fairly disappointed to finish any lower. Just on your pre-seaosn snide comment, shay Given said that the year when Blackburn won the title, they failed to win a single pre-season game, so there is hope for us maybe …

    Will do.

  9. I*T*P*L Says:

    I know it’s not a real deformity, I meant I spent ages trying to figure out what what I now know to be another player’s hand was.

    I used this picture:

    http://img.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2007/03_03/nugentDM3103_468×298.jpg

    In which I must admit it is a far better shout.

  10. CHED EVANS YOU WERE MY HERO!? Zabaleta, WHY DID SPARKY NOT PLAY YOU?! Says:

    “Emmanuel Adebadhairday”

    >>> LOVE IT!

    “In addition to this, they spent over £30 million to acquire the services of former Liverpool midfielder Xabi Alonso. Despite his undoubted qualities, is the Spaniard really worth two and a half times as much as Barry?”

    >>> I’m not sure about this, Alonso is an OUTSTANDING player, yet we undoubtedly got Barry on the cheap in my opinion!?

    “Adebuyonegetonefree”

    >>> Ahahaaahahahaaahahahaa, my type of humour!

    “Evans, capped ten times by Wales, has moved to Sheffield United in the Championshipfor £3 million. The Welshman never really cemented his place in the City side and it was hard to see where he would have fitted in this time around, so his move is beneficial for all concerned.”

    >>> I can’t disagree more, he had the most promise of all our strikers last season, bar Bellamy…

    ” lengthy and entertaining article”

    >>> Doesn’t do the article justice!

    “matss gonna be gutted about ched!”

    >>> Not ‘gonna be’, but ‘IS’!

    It took me ages to read, but worth it Steven, it’s been a while!

    p.s the Nugent, Elano shout is horrific and you should be ashamed…

  11. Steven Goran Eriksson Says:

    Hahahaha Matt, love it.

    “p.s the Nugent, Elano shout is horrific and you should be ashamed…” - Check VJ’s comment number 9 for the picture i was looking to use and there you will see it is a perfect shout

  12. CHED EVANS YOU WERE MY HERO!? Zabaleta, WHY DID SPARKY NOT PLAY YOU?! Says:

    OH YES! Right you are!

  13. Ricky Says:

    Matt,

    If you read this before Monday evening…

    Can you go to Alton Towers on Tuesday???

    I was going down with the familia anyway and said that I could bring a couple of amigos.

    If you can, we are meeting at 9.00 at piccadilly station. I can get 1/2 price park entry tickets.

    Please, Please, Please text me back (or use here) to let me know by Monday evening).

  14. CHED EVANS YOU WERE MY HERO!? Zabaleta, WHY DID SPARKY NOT PLAY YOU?! Says:

    Ricky…mate, i’ve only just picked this message up?!

    There must have been a problem because I never recieved this so called text you sent me? When did you send it?

    Thatss a bit of a shamee, I would have liked to go too, sorry mate? But i’ll see you tomorrw right?

    Sorry againnn…phone troubleee :s

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