Sunday, 23 May 2010

The one that got away

This morning's papers are understandably full of praise for Diego Milito. If you weren't watching 'il Principe' scored twice last night to win the European Cup for Inter, his twenty-ninth and thirtieth goals of a treble-winning season.

There is an article about him by Peter Jenson in the Independent on Sunday which is very good, but for one glaring factual inaccuracy: it claims that Spurs were the only English side interested in Milito two summers ago, when he left relegated Real Zaragoza to return to Genoa, where he had eighteen profilic months in Serie B. It's true that Spurs bid for him that summer, but so did City.

It was the summer that started with Mark Hughes' appointment and ended with the ADUG takeover. Before the money flooded in Hughes made some astute signings: Pablo Zabaleta and Vincent Kompany at £6m each still looks like excellent business. We signed Jô but that was driven by a combination of Tord Grip, Eriksson, Thaksin and Garry Cook: Hughes had no input. Hughes wanted a centre forward of his own, and Milito and Roque Santa Cruz were the targets. Once Sam Allardyce made it clear Santa Cruz was staying put we bid £10m for Milito.

Zaragoza will have wanted more, but as a relegated club they were not in a stong negotiating position; the accepted a similar bid from Genoa. The fact is that Milito chose to return to his former club ahead of a move to MCFC. Hughes spent the £10m on Shaun Wright-Phillips instead, and we spent most of 2008/09 with Felipe Caicedo up front. Milito had an excellent season at Genoa, and was recruited by Mourinho's Inter the following summer. You know the rest.

Regardless of his shortcomings, I did think Hughes always had a very good eye for a player.


wizzballs said...

Arghhh, this will sound like yet another opportunistic swipe at Hughes... and I really don't mean it that way, the message boards are still full of Hughes vs Mancini posturing, and it makes me sick..... but he was on our radar under Sven as well, our interest was firmly lodged in that January transfer window, sadly Thaksin needed the money to pay for a bulk order of Orange T-Shirts, and we ended up with Benjaknees. I suppose the interesting question might be, why we didn't go back for him when the RSC deal didn't materialise.... or when his medical records did ;)

JPB said...

Yes, I remember Guillem Balague saying once on a podcast that we were close to signing him before - in January 2008, when Thaksin briefly said he'd fund an expensive purchase if Eriksson could find a player. But the summer '08 rumour seemed to be better substantiated than the January '08 stuff.

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