"I have been able to see Jô close-up in the last two months and what I have seen makes me think he's a good player," Mancini said. "I can also remember seeing him play for CSKA [Moscow] a few years ago when I was with Internazionale and he's a good striker. We want to keep him."
Where to start? The game he was referring to was this one, and Jô does score a good goal if you fast-forward to 48 seconds in. I remember seeing that, and being excited by it. But in his time at City he was just nakedly useless. He has all of the faults of Emmanuel Adebayor - the inertia, the diffidence, the lack of attention to detail - with none of Manu's occasional thrilling upside. Of all the strikers we used in 2008/09: including Benjani, Danny Sturridge, Darius Vassell and Ched 'Bergkamp' Evans, Jô was the worst. He was nowhere near what we needed back then. We're twice the team now that we were then. He is bizarrely incongruous.
But that could well be a good thing. We have come so far in recent years that a reminder of our past would be useful grounding and context. Jô was the last, the worst and the most expensive of a long run of woeful strikers, imported with promising records but who did nothing at City. It started with Georgios Samaras but then there was Bernardo Corradi, Rolando Bianchi, Valeri Bozhinov, Nery Castillo, Benjani, Felipe Caicedo and, if I was being uncharitable, Emile Mpenza. Signing Jô was the last meaningful act of the Thaksin Shinawatra regime, and there was something about its frivolity, its lack of forethought and its wastefulness that summed up the reign as a whole. This is a different Manchester City now. We buy strikers that score goals. But if we have Jô, coming on late in games already won, standing on the touchline waiting for the ball, it will be a firm reminder that it was not always this easy.