Thursday, 26 March 2009

Times : Robinho out, Henry and Ribéry in.

There's two fascinating articles by James Ducker in Thursday's Times, both about City's alleged transfer plans. The first, a news piece, claims that Hughes is keen to sell Robinho in the summer, and has four main transfer targets: Thierry Henry, Franck Ribéry, John Terry and Roque Santa Cruz. Ribéry would come in as a direct replacement for Robinho:

City have not approached Ribéry or Bayern directly, but they have registered a tentative interest through third parties, just as they have been working behind the scenes since January on a deal to bring Henry back to the Premier League. While a move to City could present Henry, 31, whose contract expires in 2011 and would cost about £10 million, with a massive final pay day, Ribéry may take more persuading, especially as he would have to forgo Champions League football for at least one season and is likely to field offers for his services from Barcelona, Real and possibly Chelsea.

The second comments on why Hughes wants to make these changes, picking up on themes I've mentioned before - the desire to create a fit, consistent squad with a winning mentality - something that Robinho does not always bring:

It is Robinho’s performances on the pitch that are of most concern to the manager, however. The Brazilian could be on the substitutes’ bench for the league game away to Arsenal on Saturday week and will face a battle to retain his place for the remainder of the season with Martin Petrov, the Bulgaria winger, who is about to return from a knee ligament injury after six months out.

Ribéry, by contrast, would represent a significant step up in class, although what has struck Hughes is that his talent and flair are matched by a fierce workrate....

Hughes wants to reshape City’s squad, allying talent with character in the hunt next season for Champions League football, although as critical to his game plan as four or five high-quality signings is a drastic downsizing of a squad populated by players who are out of contract in the summer or surplus to requirements. At least 12 are expected to leave.

These are both interesting pieces in themselves, and the story is a fascinating one. What is curious though is why this is only being reported by James Ducker in Thursday's papers. When big City stories come out of the club, and James Ducker gets them, he is usually joined by Daniel Taylor (Guardian), Ian Herbert (Independent) and Ian Ladyman (Daily Mail). That no other papers should carry this story is interesting in itself. Whether it makes it more or less reliable, I'm just not sure. It does sound very believable though.

6 comments:

Jack said...
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JPB said...

That's potentially libelous I'm afraid I'm going to have to delete it.

trinder said...

There are about a dozen, perhaps twenty, players in the world that City haven't got a hope of signing, some because they're too good, others because they're club fixtures. Most of them are both. Ribery is top of the next group down: outstanding players at clubs who may sell. I don't believe we could get anyone better until we became a top side.

JPB said...

I'm just worried he'll got to Barcelona. Their interest in him, and his in them, is no secret. But if he does go to the Camp Nou, I imagine Henry will leave...

trinder said...

Too right. If Barça want him, he's theirs. All we can do is mischievously inflate the price.

pjdemers said...

I think until City can offer champions league football we are not going to be able to persuade players like Ribery to come to Eastlands. The only exception might be players like David Villa who are at cash-strapped clubs, even then they are unlikely to come unless we offer outrageous salaries which I don't think in the long run will do us any favors.

Personally I think we should continue to go after young, ambitious, international players. Kompany is a perfect example. In fact two years ago he could of very well ended up at the swamp but one of his reasons for not going to United was that he didn't want to sit on the bench. Sparky needs to continue to look for "breakout" players, that is players who are the verge of becoming star names.

the Bundesliga seems to be a obvious choice to look for such talent, especially given Sparky's track record there (I'm including his stint at Blackburn). Hamburg's Trochowski is one, Bremen's Diego is another. That we weren't able to take advantage of Podolski's situation at Bayern is something the club needs to revisit and examine. All three of these players are young and talented with their best years still ahead of them.

Obviously there is also room to get seasoned players like Henry, players who raise the profile of the club, while their talent and experience is still able to be utilized on the field. Gudjohnsen is another such player City might want to take a look at, even if it is a stop-gap solution.

One rumor I do hope goes away is the constant link to Terry. I doubt he wants to come to City and personally I think he's overrated. If we're going to break the bank to get a Chelsea star I'd rather go after Lampard or even Ballack (provided he's healthy).