Monday, 3 August 2009


Stuart Brennan wrote this morning that we are considering a move for Sylvain Distin, should we fail to reach agreement with Everton over Joleon Lescott. I'm not quite sure I can quite convey just how excited I am at this prospect.

It's something I wrote about back in January when we were said to be looking for a left-sided centre half. And the reasons I proposed for it then still hold now.

One of the main attractions of Lescott for Hughes is that he is left footed. He has played at left back for Everton and would be a better back-up for Wayne Bridge than Javi Garrido is - I would say that Zabaleta is a better left back than Garrido too, for what it's worth. Now if we don't sign Lescott presumably we'll still be on the lookout for a left-sided defender, which Distin certainly is.

He also has the Premier League experience Hughes values so highly: 272 EPL starts since his move from PSG to Newcastle in 2001. And while Hughes' preference this summer has been for top six experience, Distin comes close enough to fulfilling this. When playing left back for Sir Bobby Robson in 01/02 Newcastle finished fourth. The two best finishes he enjoyed at City were ninth in 02/03 and eighth in 04/05, while Portsmouth came a respectable eighth in 07/08 - as well as winning the FA Cup. Given that Distin is being considered alongside Sebastian Bassong and Alex, he looks strong in this regard.

More importantly, though, than his history in general is his history with City. Hughes has spoken in the past of wanting both players with an 'empathy for the club' and those who can lead on the pitch. How better to combine these two traits than by signing a former captain? With over two hundred games for City, and three years as captain (2003-06) Distin certainly fulfills this. His partnership with Richard Dunne saved us from relegation quite a few times during the Keegan and Pearce eras. Yes, he left City under a cloud when he left for Portsmouth. But his accusation - that if City were moving at all, we were regressing - was a fair assessment of the Wardle/Pearce decay. The treatment he gets from City fans at recent matches against Portsmouth is disgraceful. Were he to be brought back to City he would provide a welcome link with one of the few positive aspects of the mid 2000s, and would heal the ugly wound of the last few years.

In fact, I'd rather we signed him than Lescott. One final point: as a 31 year old he would restrict Onuoha's chances less than 26 year old Lescott or Sebastian Bassong - who is only four months older than our Nedum.


TPB said...

As a loyal servant of the club during the bad times, Distin deserves a return move. And bringing back a club legend City could be appealing to the fans who have become somewhat embarassed by the recent excessive spending.

But as well as the sentimental argument Distin's versatility would mean he would plug two holes and he's got a wealth of premier league experience.

The problem is that Hughes' pursuit of Lescott is no secret and after defeats in landing Kaka, Eto'o and Terry, failing to land Lescott would be a little embarassing and a field day for the press. What Hughes said at the Toure press conference gave me the impression he still really wants his man.

Gary Nolan said...

To be honest I would have Distin back for a couple of seasons in a heartbeat.

However would a lot of City fans forgive him for the disrespect he showed us on his return to Eastlands, whilst at the club he was treated well by the fans and what he did was really out of order.

He is a good player though and as we all know he has certainly got Premier League quality.

Wigan Blue said...

I agree with Gary. The reception he got on his return was not because he left the club (City fans tend to give players who leave a generous welcome), but because of his disgraceful press statements regarding City. While he probably could do a job for us, my feeling is "Stuff him" - we can do far better...

Anonymous said...

No way will i welcome Distin back to City

trinder said...

No way. He was a good player for City but nothing more than that. He used to go wandering, his positional sense was poor and as a left-back he was hopeless.

Gary Nolan said...

In my opinion I do not thinkhis positional play was poor.

His main fault at City was that he seemed to turn of and lose concentration.

Lee F said...

This would be a backward step. To play with Toure we have someone who is more loyal than him (Dunne), someone who has grown up with the club and has bags of potential (Onuoha) and someone who is a better footballer (Kompany).

rich said...

I agree with the other posters - in his day he made a great partnership with Dunne but his positional play was poor and at the end of his spell at City he was prone to the odd rush of blood (which a couple of times scored some cracking goals - remember the one away at Villa?) but for me his pace was the main thing and I can't see him really being the solution - I like the idea of Lescott and his provides coverage for Bridge at LB but really don't want us to pay much over £20M for his services