Thursday, 8 October 2009

Ladyman: Micah, Zab, Bridge, Robinho under threat

With just under three months to go until the opening of the January window, transfer rumours deserve credit for edging in ahead of Christmas decorations in being the most premature arrival of the autumn. City's rumours started in earnest today, with an Ian Ladyman article in the Mail. He reports that Hughes is interested in bringing in a new left back, a new right back and a new creative central midfielder:

This tangible shift in status spells bad news for the rest of the Premier League and also for the current City full backs - Micah Richards, Pablo Zabaleta and Wayne Bridge.

As Sportsmail revealed last season, Hughes has harboured doubts about former England defender Richards since becoming boss and he has now lost patience with the 21-year-old's average training efforts and failure to understand the tactical and positional side of the defending art.

Ladyman goes on to write that Hughes has been unimpressed with Wayne Bridge, that Pablo Zabaleta is not a long term solution at right-back, and that we will listen to offers for Robinho. This possible overhaul - our fifth major turnover in players since summer 2008 - comes as Hughes and the board decide that Champions League football is within reach this season, and therefore to accelerate pre-existing transfer plans. Remember how Hughes said there would not be recruitment like last summer again in the future? Well that may have gone out of the window.

I must say I'm getting rather tired of these constant changes in personnel. Building up relationships with particular player is such a central part of fandom, and having to get used to a whole new team every six months is rather grating. Particularly given that our current full backs and creative midfielder (Bridge, Zabaleta and Stephen Ireland) are probably good enough to get us into fourth place.

But the sixteen months of Mark Hughes' reign have taught us two important things about his transfer policy. First, he is always willing to bring in new players to improve the side, always keen to twist rather than stick. I would rather we had stuck with Kompany and Onuoha rather than buy Lescott. I hoped that we would stick with Roque Santa Cruz (never mind Valeri Bozhinov) rather than buy Emmanuel Adebayor. So it's quite possible he feels the need to upgrade on Zabaleta, Bridge and Ireland. The second thing that we have learnt, and more importantly, is that Hughes tends to get these decisions right. How happy were City fans with spending £10m on Craig Bellamy? Or £16m on Nigel de Jong? I even had my doubts about Adebayor. But Hughes has a track record now that he really should be given the benefit of the doubt on these sort of calls.


jackblue said...

"he has now lost patience with the 21-year-old's average training efforts"

If that is indeed true then it is unforgivable. I have defended Micah so far but if he is not training properly then ship him out.

disease32 said...

its a shame you hate richards so much. you never write anything decent and hes not that bad..

Blue Moon said...

I don't believe that Hughes believes that Zab is not a long term solution at right back. I can definitely see Robinho being pushed down the pecking order right now barring any more serious injuries. As for Bridge, left backs don't grow on trees and are not cheap. Of course, money is no object... Bridge frustrates me, but how many other attainable left backs are there that would be a significant improvement?

TPB said...

Hughes has manouevred out of a number of tricky situations by claiming that the state of the club when he arrived was so bad that it was always going to take time to turn things around.

Replacing the Pearce and Eriksson signings is one thing - replacing his own recruits shows he has failed in the transfer market.

The 19million signing of Jo was an abject failure. Supporters of Hughes maintain that he was a player identified by Eriksson and pursued by Thaksin and the board - fair enough.

As for Robinho, he might have been a marquee signing and a political statement, but Hughes openly stated his interest in the player and pushed the deal through.

Bridge was bought with the takeover money and clearly was meant to be part of a team that would take us into the top 4. He has, as you would expect from a player who has played so little first team football recently, been poor. If Hughes wants to replace him he must accept that he has failed with Bridge.

The same is true with Zabaleta. Never mind that he was bought before the takeover. He was a replacement for an international right back described by Slaven Bilic as the best in the world, who has sinced moved onto another team challenging for the top 4. He was obviously a signing for a team that wanted to break the big 4 monopoly.

clevblue said...

Ladyman is no friend of City, take it with a pinch of salt, Zab and Bridge both improving, Robinho coming back from injury and micah is always an easy target. Hughes wants a big squad. it's no problem

Mancunian56 said...

Take no notice of the rag boy Ladyman he is just stirring it. As regards TPB so what if Charlie was described by Slaven Bilic as "the best international right back in the world" it doesn't make it true

N Rowland said...

I agree about the frequent turnover. It's nice to see long-term players. IMHO it's a combination of getting the right players in some cases, and adding depth in others. Richards has not shown he is top 4 or even 6 quality. Bridge shouldn't be under threat - I believe Hughes is looking for depth here - and Garrido isn't the solution. Same for Zaba. Robinho isn't a Hughes type player - maybe MH thought he could mold him.

TPB: Hughes is not a "failure" in the transfer market - of course he's going to make some mistakes - if it was easy, everyone would be doing it. Name a manager who hasn't? I think he's done a fantastic job with the "Sparkyisation" as JP likes to put it. When Abramovich bought Chelsea, they had already made Europe 6 or 7 years in a row - at least(?) Light-years ahead of Man City at that point, in terms of team culture and mentality. It takes time to build - don't let the great start fool you. There will be bumps in the road. They've done a bang-up job!