Wednesday, 4 April 2012

City Talk: No. 2

Top 10 worst signings

By Shane Burns

Down the years, City fans have seen many players put on the blue shirt and drop like a lead balloon. Some arrived carrying more expectation than others, and more often than not have failed to deliver. However, prior to Sheikh Mansour's takeover, City were renowned for signing veterans of the game on the Bosman ruling. Players like Andy Cole arrived in 2005 and proved to be a controversial signing to say the least. Along with Andy Cole, we saw the likes of David Seaman, Peter Schmeichel,  Michael Tarnat, Paul Bosvelt and former City manager Stuart Pearce join the club on free transfers throughout the noughties.

Some of our worst ever signings have without a doubt been in the last ten years. Starting at number ten was a man who carried a lot of expectations on his shoulder when he arrived just under two years ago

10. Emmaunel Adebayor: Adebayor arrived during our first real summer spending spree and the club prized the Togolese striker to the club for a fee of £25 million. After scoring 30 goals for Arsenal in the 07/08 season, things started to go down hill for Adebayor at the Gunners. His demand for more money saw a majority of Arsenal fans take a dislike to him, and despite scoring 15 goals the season after, it was clear he wasn't wanted at the club. Mark Hughes acted swiftly to sign the Arsenal forward and after his explosive start to the 09/10 season with City, he was already becoming a fans favourite. Four goals in four games had took him to the top of the scoring charts in the league, one of which included his infamous celebration against his former club in a 4-2 victory. Adebayor was unplayable that day, and the only time I have seen someone better his performance that day was Lionel Messi, funnily enough against Arsenal 18 months later. However, after the departure of Mark Hughes, things went downhill for Adebayor. After being involved in a horrific shooting at the ACoN, the Togolese striker returned to City and never really re-found his form. After numerous reported bust ups with team mates and management over the next 12 months, Adebayor was then loaned to Real Madrid the season after. This guy could have been a City legend but his lazy attitude meant it was never to be.

9: Rolando Bianchi: Another disastrous Sven signing. After a prolific season in Italy, Sven decided to splash out £7.8 million for the 24 year old. With poor technique and someway lacking the cutting edge, Rolando was never going to last long in the Premier League. After an exceptional debut against West Ham, many opinions of the Italian had changed. But that was about as good as it got for him. With only three goals in 18 appearances, it was clear the Italian was on his way out of Manchester and heading home to Italy. In January after the arrival of Mexican striker Nery Castillo on loan from Shakhtar, Rolando was then loaned back to Lazio where he was sent off on his debut. After another unsuccessful stint with Lazio, Torino were promoted from Serie B and took up the option to sign him for £3.5 million. Less than half of what City had paid for him 12 months beforehand.

8. Robbie Fowler: Probably the best finisher of his generation, when Robbie Fowler was signed by Kevin Keegan in January 2003 for a whopping £7.5 million, it was fair to say massive performances were expected from the Liverpool legend. Unfortunately for City fans, Fowler scored only 20 goals in just under 80 appearances for the Blues, something both his reputation and price tag didn't live up to. Robbie's City career was summed up in May 2005. With City needing to beat Middlesbrough to guarantee a place in the UEFA Cup, a 92nd minute penalty to win the game was missed by Fowler and City were left to rue what could have been.  Fowler's City career never really recovered after that, and was pushed down the pecking order after the arrival's of Andy Cole and Darius Vassell. With the purchase of Georgios Samaras, Fowler then moved on back to former club Liverpool where he struggled yet again with the speed of the Premier League.

7. Jonathan Macken: To many City fans, Jon Macken's finest moment in his career came against us, scoring a 45 yeard wonder goal in November 2001 when City travelled to Deepdale. Four months later, Macken was signed for a then club record fee of £6.5 million. With big things expected of Macken, it is fair to say that he never lived up to his price tag. After coming off the bench to score in a 2-0 away win at Valley Parade, Macken then went onto score three more times during his debut season. When City were promoted to the Premier League, Macken became one of six strikers at City which included the likes of Shaun Goater and record signing Nicolas Anelka. With many people expecting the Macken to partner the formidable Frenchman Anelka upfront, his season was tormented with injuries and this partnership never really got going.  The following season Macken scored some pivotal goals for City in a fairly disappointing season. After famously scoring the winner at White Hart Lane in what was dubbed the 'greatest FA Cup comeback ever', he then scored in the Derby demolition later that month. In hindsight, the purchase of Jon Macken proved to be money blown by Kevin Keegan. He failed to score enough or even play well enough. A player that would always try his hardest but was sadly just not good enough. 

Andreas Isaksson: Worst ever City keeper?
Photo: Scott Heavey/Getty Images Europe
6. Andreas Isaksson: Words can't describe how fearful I was of this guy when he arrived from FC Rennes in 2006. When City signed "the promising" Swede for what seemed a bargain £2 million from Rennes, he had made 40 international caps for his country. His first few months were hampered by injury but he finally made  his debut in October at home to Watford. What followed was none other than horrific. A 0 - 0 draw followed by a defeat at home to Reading, Stuart Pearce was quick in bringing in Nicky Weaver to replace the Swede. The rest of the season couldn't have got any worse for City, and with Pearce sacked, City started the season with Isaksson once again sitting out the majority of games, with Sven preferring inexperienced Kasper Schmeichel. Isaksson played a handful of games that season, but after speaking publicly about needing first team football reguarly to keep improving in his career (not the only thing Andreas) he was then sold to PSV in the summer of 2009. In all my years watching City I have never felt so uncomfortbale with a player in goal than I did for the 19 league games he played for us.

5. Nery Castillo: Oh how I thought this guy was going to make it. During the 2007 Copa America, its fair to say the young Mexican took the competition by storm with great technique, scintillating speed and an eye for goal. After the competition, the then Olympiakos Striker was attracting interest from Real Madrid, Chelsea, Manchester United and City. To the world's surprise the Mexican "wonderkid" joined Ukrainian outfit Shakhtar in a £15 million deal. His career in the Ukraine lasted as long as a Mexican wave, after demanding to take a penalty, before stupidly missing it, with Shakhtar going on to lose the game. In the January transfer window, many of Europe's top clubs had lost interest in Castillo due to his poor attitude and laziness on the pitch. He was so keen to join City that he paid £1 million of the £1.5m loan fee. He aimed to perform at City and then move onto greater things. His City career was as long as another Mexican wave. After dislocating his shoulder against West Ham in an FA Cup replay, Castillo's short career with City was stopped. He returned in May as a central midfielder and never showed any signs of greatness. When Sven was sacked, Castillo wasn't far behind him. He has since played in America and is now in Greece with Aris. A wasted career or another blown up "wonderkid"?

4. Robinho: The only thing saving him from being higher up this list is the fact he scored 15 goals for City in six months. Other than that he would be firmly second. (wait til you see first and you'll then understand he wasn't that bad). After being the first signing under the new City revolution, Robinho came with a stature and the skills to hopefully help elevate City onto bigger and better things. City forked out a then British transfer record for the Samba star. He made his debut two weeks later against the club he was expected to sign for earlier on that summer, Chelsea. And my god did he make a first impression. After scoring from a free kick from outside the box, Robinho instantly became a fans favourite. His brilliant skills and quick feet were something us Blues hadn't seen for a long time. His form continued right up until the new year. His most memorable moment came against Arsenal in a 3 - 0 win at home when he brilliantly chipped Manuel Almunia to score the cheekiest goal ever seen at the Etihad Stadium! His form didn't last long, many disputes and problems with then manager Mark Hughes left many to believe that the Brazilian was on his way out in the summer. This was not the case as Hughes went on to purchase Tevez along with other big names. Robinho was now playing in a team full of superstars and was expected to shine.....this was again not the case. Without a league goal all season, on the final day of the January transfer window, new manager Roberto Mancini loaned the troubled Brazilian back to Santos and he never played for City again. The most talented player to ever flop at City? Perhaps. That is why he is only 4th on the list.

3. Georgios Samaras: Where to start with this guy. When a skint City paid a massive (at the time) £6m for the Greek from Dutch side Heerenveen, the unknown Greek was destined for City failure. The most shocking thing about this transfer was the fact that old club Heerenveen were demanding £9m!!!! After scoring the winner in his debut against Charlton, it all went down hill. With just the odd goal here and there, his highlight in his short career came in a 2-0 victory against West Ham, where he scored both goals, including a wonder goal from outside the box. His City career went downhill there, before eventually being offloaded to Celtic the following summer. For the money spent on the Greek, he is definitely worth his place in my list. 

2. Roque Santa CruzMy next two worst players for money are BOTH Mark Hughes signings. This says a lot about his reign at City. In Hughes' final year at Blackburn, he bought Roque Santa Cruz from Bayern Munich for 3.5m. Santa Cruz was nothing short of excellent for Blackburn and ended up with 18 goals. When Hughes' left Blackburn to join City it took a whole year of negotiating for Hughes to finally get him to follow his footsteps for a staggering fee of £18 million. Many of us Blues criticised the decision, as he was unable to make his debut until the start of October due to injuries! He scored in a League Cup game against Scunthorpe and took his tally to five overall during the season. His lack of speed, lack of cutting edge, and fitness proved to be his downfall at City.....and the fact he could never perform makes him second in the worst value for money.

1. Jo: Many of you  had probably already guessed it. But the worst value for money is yet another Mark Hughes signing...Jo! Arguably the worst player in Premier League history let alone our own history. The then 21 year old was snapped up by City, lacked a number of qualities needed at the time, and questioned Mark Hughes' logic to splash £19 million on the striker. Joining a City team with forwards that couldn't get any worse, City were optimistic of the Brazilian striker, but the optimism soon died down. Despite scoring against Portsmouth in a 6-0 drubbing, he eventually lost his place in the side and was loaned out to Everton, where he tripled his scoring account in England by scoring two goals on his debut. His debut with the Toffee's summed up his City career. At the end of the season, Jo was loaned out to Turkey. However, he was once again unsuccessful in Turkey, and returned to Manchester to find himself in City's 25 man squad. 

Jo: Worst signing in recent history
Photo: Massimo Cebrelli/Getty Images Europe

Overall, Jo's career at city makes him the worst player to play for us. There have been some bad ones including Lee Bradbury and Michael Brown to name a few. There was also Mattias Vuoso, who never even played a game for us.

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