Sunday, 15 November 2009

More on Ángel Di María

This Sunday's main transfer rumour concerning City is a story in The News of the World that we have agreed a £36million deal to sign Ángel di María in January:

Although contract negotiations are not finalised, City are confident they will bring the in-form midfielder to Eastlands.

The Argentina star has been identified by Mark Hughes as a long-term successor for Robinho.

The Benfica playmaker, 21, has emerged as the inspiration behind the free-scoring Portuguese side's quest for the Europa League and their domestic title.

I'm still not sure I can quite see this one coming off. Di María - talented though he is - just does not fit with the profile of players Mark Hughes has tried to sign since the takeover. He's young (21 - ten days older than Michael Johnson), raw, with no Premier League experience, only three full Argentine caps and just a handful of Champions League games to his name. The main qualities Hughes looks for in a footballer: physical strength, stamina, a winning attitude, professionalism and so forth don't exactly strike you as defining di María that strongly. So the story just doesn't sound right to me.

Don't take this to mean, though, that I don't want it to happen. Far from it. One of the main characteristics of Hughes' post-takeover transfer policy has been the total absence of exoticism. Under Eriksson we signed players from, inter alia, Dinamo Zagreb, FC Sion, FC Basle, Real Sociedad and two from Shakhtar Donetsk. Since the takeover we've bought from Chelsea, Everton, Aston Villa, Blackburn Rovers and two from Arsenal. While there is certainly a real value to buying players with EPL experience, it's just a bit less fun. So the prospects of our signing a 21 year old Argentine wunderkind from Benfica is intensely attractive.

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