Sunday, 6 June 2010

Boateng deal done

Welcome, if not surprising news: Jérôme Boateng has agreed a deal to come to Manchester City, and will become a blue on 1 July. This is the first buy of the summer.

I am excited. Boateng comes with a good reputation, and his inclusion in the German World Cup squad is testament to that. He can play centre-back and right-back, both positions where we need both cover and improvement. I don't know what our first choice centre-back pairing will be this year: it ought to be Vincent Kompany plus one, and even if we do not pair both HSV old boys our Europa League campaign will ensure he gets a good number of games.

If he's similar to our other two players we plucked from the Nordbank Arena, then he'll do well. Nigel de Jong and Vincent Kompany have so raised the standard of quality, competitiveness and professionalism throughout the squad; another product from the same mold would be ideal.

Most intriguing, though, is the hope that he becomes an archetype for the summer of spending. After Mark Hughes' decision last summer to buy expensive experienced established Premier League players, this would be a major departure. With Boateng we are going for a different type of player: young (Boateng is only 21), playing outside the Premier League, with hunger and ambition, to move to an upwardly-mobile club in the EPL.

I am an evangelist for this approach. When Chelsea were doing a similar thing around 2004 that was their transfer approach: 20 year old Arjen Robben from PSV, 22 year old Petr Čech from Rennes, 22 year old Michael Essien from Lyon, the late-developing 26 year old Didier Drogba from Marseilles. And look where that got them. It was only when they went for the lazy millionaires: Andriy Shevchenko and Michael Ballack that they stopped winning the league. Our approach should be to imitate this. Of course, the money we will pay Boateng is a big factor. But we need players who are hungry, ambitious, keen to prove themselves in England and play a part in our progress. I'm afraid this does not apply to Emmanuel Adebayor, Gareth Barry and Kolo Touré, and it shows. This is the Boateng plan, it's the right plan and I hope it continues. (Although for all my talk of Boateng as the archetype all of this applies to Adam Johnson, another Brian Marwood signing and a very ambitious player.) Next stop: Edin Džeko.


Base_Comedy said...

I've just read your piece and I wanted to say that I posted a suspiciously similar piece about an hour after yours. In case you saw it, I'd like to assure you it's a coincidence rather than a copy! I'm a regular reader of yours, but I always try to make sure I do my blog before reading others to make sure I have some sort of originality - seems it doesn't always work!

Michael (of Theatre of Base Comedy)

Anonymous said...

Talking of Dzenko I just read on that Wolfsburg were putting forward a £20m bid for Berbatov. Maybe its the first stage of a swap, its been rumoured for many months that Dzenko fancied coming to United and this swap may help the cash strapped red half?