Thursday, 4 February 2010

Those failed midfielder moves

There's been quite a lot of fall-out recently on our failed attempts to bring two new central midfielders (well, first one, then the other) to Eastlands on deadline day.

First there was McDonald Mariga - formerly of Parma, almost of City, now, frustratingly, of Inter. He failed to get a work permit. We learnt on Wednesday that the Kenyan Prime Minister himself was involved in our attempts to get McDonald the permit on Monday. Raila Odinga said:

"I would like to assure soccer fans and all Kenyans that with the British High Commissioner, I've done what I could to get Mariga into Man City," Odinga said.

"I spent a minimum of three hours on phone talking to Gordon Brown's office, the Africa Office, office of Culture and Sports, the Home office, the FA president Lord Treisman and to Mariga himself," Odinga said.

Clearly it would have meant an awful lot to Kenya to have one of their own playing for our very own. And so it is genuinely disappointing that it collapsed as it did. Roberto Mancini was clearly far from impressed when he discussed it earlier today:

The City boss told his club's official website: "We had two or three targets but our main aim was to bring Mariga to the club.

"We couldn't see any problems so to have the panel rule against granting him a work permit is, I believe, an incredible decision.

"He is a young player and Kenya's most important footballer and considering he's played in Sweden and Italy for the past six years and with relations between Kenya and Britain strong, I just cannot understand why he had his application refused."

Having failed to land Mariga we swiftly returned our attentions to Real Madrid's Andrea Pirlo tribute act Fernando Gago. It was too late in the day, though, and nothing could be done. This does not quite explain, though, the reaction of Real's sporting director Jorge Valdano:

"They had nothing prepared, not even one document signed," Valdano told El Pais.

"They had not reached an agreement with the player and they would have had to have done everything in 40 minutes."

This is strange. Of course I know that dark arts go on in transfers, and that we have been quite prone to using them in the past. (There was clearly more to the Joleon Lescott saga than met the eye last summer.) But Valdano's criticism seems to be that we didn't talk to Gago before agreeing a fee - that is, that we did things by the book rather than taking the short-cut which might have squeezed the transfer through before 17:00 GMT on the Monday.

I can see why he might be frustrated - he was hours away from getting his hands on €18m, and now has a very disgruntled player still on his hands. But I don't see that we've done too much wrong here.

Anyway, as I've said before I'm not quite sure how glaring a gap this is. We've got some good central midfielders at the club, and some good full-backs who can play there too. Even without new additions, we should be fine for the rest of the season.


Steven McInerney said...

Genuinely gutted we didn't get Mariga. The more I've read about the more I feel we've missed out a future world star. Devoed.

Thomas said...

i still dont know why you persist with this notion that midfielders are not needed. We have lots of strikers and lots of defenders.

our midfield is lightweight, too many player who are alike.

Barry, nor ireland or de jong ..include zabaleta and kompany are not going to give you much diversity in the middle. We can cope with players doing adequate roles in the middle, but that isnt really good enough.

Vieira is very much an unknown quantity, but is an ideal candidate to add another dimension. He isnt a player that sits in one role. like all others mentioned, He bites in the middle and adds to the attack.

We lack drive and creativity. Mariga would of given us drive, gago would of given us creativity!

Steven McInerney said...

'Vieira is very much an unknown quantity'......come again?

wizzballs said...

you're right about gago. we did nothing wrong.. the implication is that real tried to bring the deal back to life by accepting our last bid, but they seemed to have left it too late. who knows if the 'unfinished forms' were a cover for city having had second thoughts over the player?

either way, the comments of Real and Gago's manager seem to be sour grapes. Since when did we have an obligation to buy an unwanted player? Real appear gutted now, but earlier in the window they refused Gago's request for a move.

it's somewhat comical that some fans have decided to make Cook the scapegoat for this. whatever else you think of him, you can't hold him responsible for the bizarre decision to refuse Mariga's work permit appeal, or Real's refusal to sell Gago earlier in the window.

trinder said...

I read somewhere that Madrid waited three hours to reply to City's bid on Monday afternoon in the hope that they would raise it in desperation. If true, it makes Valdano look even more like a tit.

jackblue said...

the Gago saga showed Real's disengenuity. Thay wanted 25 million City said do one. Then at the last minute they lowered their valuation, far too late to make the deal happen. I can only assume they thought our transfer window closed at midnight like theirs,

The decision not to grant a work permit to Mariga because Kenya are ranked to low in FIFA's ratings was ludicrous. By that reasoning then if say Messi, was Kenyan he wouldn't get one either. City should take it to the court of human rights.

CelticsBlues said...

I posted this on the first blog about Mariga.

I am surprised that people (including City fans, the team, the media, African players) aren't being more vocal about this. It is totally backwards, in every sense, that players from countries lower down on the FIFA rankings would be blocked from playing in the Prem. The UK should at least support it's commonwealth nations, but more importantly get rid of this ridiculous rule.

JPB said...

CelticsBlues makes an important point. What exactly is the point of the Commonwealth if it can't make this sort of thing run smoother? The involvement of the Kenyan PM shows how important it is to Kenya to have a Kenyan starring in Britain's biggest and most lucrative cultural export, and yet an unexpected piece of red tape forced the move to collapse. Isn't there a bias in favour of Commonwealth nations? And ought there to be?

trinder said...

Bias isn't necessary. An objective assessment of a player's ability and what he can offer to the English game would do the job. A 22 year old with 24 caps, 100 appearances and now a regular in Serie A should be welcomed with open arms.

His being a trail-blazing representative of a Commonwealth country is a bonus but needn't be a part of the case.

tony said...

Whenever yernitid think they may find difficulties obtaining a work permit for one of their future "Galacticos" - the list is endless - SAF is packed off to put in a personal appearance in London where as befits a Knight of the Realm he is met by the relevant Whitehall Mandarins "bowing and scraping", producing the neccessary paperwork aready rubber stamped and warmly thanked for deigning them with his presence.

David said...

'Vieira is very much an unknown quantity'......come again?
in the sence we havent seen him in the premier league for several years, we have yet been able to cast judgment on his current ability!

obviously we know his old form