Since the takeover in 2008, City have signed a real range of players. Some who turned out to be very good (read: Aguero) and others who turned out to not be so good. This is a list of our top 10 flops since (and including) the summer of 2008, although remember that this is only opinion and we want to hear your opinions as well. Just as a side note, this list is in no particular order.
Signed from Everton in 2012 during Mancini’s last summer in charge of the club, many had high expectations of Jack Rodwell. Signed for £12 million and becoming the first signing of the window for City (although the deal was done in mid-August), his City career was blighted by injuries and a lack of playing time, so much so that his potential went almost completely unnoticed.
There’s no doubt he could have developed into a wonderful player for The Blues had he stayed fit and played regularly, but in the end we were probably fortunate to receive £10m from Sunderland when Rodwell moved to Wearside last summer.
Another signed in that disappointing transfer window of the summer of 2012, Maicon never really showed the ability which had brought him such success and praise as he had seen at Inter Milan, where he won four league titles and a Champions League before he made the move to Eastlands on deadline day 2012.
He went on to only play nine games for City before moving back to Italy and joining Roma in 2013, and in reality he was always going to struggle at City. He had just turned 31 when he joined, and when you’re competing with not only Pablo Zabaleta and Micah Richards that isn’t a good age to be, regardless of fitness. He did show signs of his ability, but not on a consistent enough level.
Stefan Savic was signed prior to the season in which we won our first league title, with City allegedly beating Liverpool to the signing of the Montengrin defender for £6 million. Some expected him to become a first-team player in time – at least, I did anyway – but after his first season it would have been difficult to win City fans back over.
Playing just 11 games, scoring once, Savic often looked vulnerable, especially when without Vincent Kompany in defence. The Montenegrin player probably could have benefitted from heading out on loan to another club in the Premier League to gain some experience first, but that wasn’t to be the case and in the end he moved to Fiorentina as part of the deal for Matija Nastasic. In Serie A, Savic has shown real ability and has been linked with moves to clubs like Barcelona this summer.
Signed in 2010, Boateng was another who had potential but didn’t come off for The Blues. The German was a £10.4 million signing from Hamburg 2 years after the takeover, and started his City career well with most of his games coming in the first half of the season. He then struggled more in the second half of the campaign, before eventually making the move to Bayern Munich a year after he signed for City, with The Blues making a £1.9 million profit on him.
He’s impressed for the Bavarians since he moved back to the Bundesliga, and has enjoyed mixed performances against his former club – City – in the Champions League. In this season’s game at the Allianz Arena, Boateng scored his side’s late winning goal, whereas last year he was sent off in Bayern’s 3-1 win at Eastlands.
Roque Santa Cruz
One of the names on this list to be signed earliest after the takeover happened was Roque Santa Cruz. Having scored 23 league goals in 57 games for Blackburn in a little under two years, City made a move for Santa Cruz in the summer of 2009, and got the Paraguayan for £17.5 million.
In the following four years before a move to Malaga, Santa Cruz played just 20 league games, scoring 3 goals in the process – two of which came in the same game, against Sunderland in December of 2009. Despite not leaving until 2013, Santa Cruz didn’t play a game in any competition for City following November 2010, and is now at the aptly-named Cruz Azul in Mexico.
Adebayor was one of three striker signed in 2009 (along with the afore-mentioned Santa Cruz and Carlos Tevez) when he joined from Arsenal for around £25 million, making him one of the several Arsenal players to have move to Eastlands from The Emirates between 2008 and 2015.
His price-tag is the main reason he’s considered unsuccessful, due to only making 34 league appearances for City during his time at the club. It wasn’t that he was inefficient – he scored 15 goals in those 34 games, before he fell out of favour under Roberto Mancini. He had a short loan spell with Real Madrid, before joining Tottenham temporarily, then permanently after being deemed an initial success at White Hart Lane.
One of the many attacking players who flopped, Adam Johnson was one of the first players signed by Roberto Mancini when he joined City in 2010. To begin with, Adam Johnson featured frequently in the first couple of seasons of his Blues career. However, as other players signed and people started to realise Johnson had little to no right foot (despite being played on right wing, which was just inconvenient) the winger’s match time dissipated before he eventually joined Sunderland two and a half years after he signed, with City making a £3 million profit on him.
Jô is interesting in that he’s the only name on this list signed prior to City having the money from the takeover. Signed for £18 million from CSKA Moscow in July 2008 – just a couple of months before Thaksin Shinawatra sold the club – the Brazilian never really came off for City, despite being their record signing.
He joined Everton on loan after just a few months at The Etihad, before making another temporary move to Goodison in 2009-10. Following a breach of contract with The Toffees, the striker joined Galatasaray on loan. He eventually moved back to Brazil with Internacional and is now with Atletico Mineiro. He was also in Brazil’s squad for last year’s World Cup.
When Wayne Bridge signed from Chelsea for around £10 million in January 2009, he wasn’t in the best of places. In the same month, news came out suggesting his former girlfriend had slept with John Terry soon after she split with Bridge, which led to a feud between him and Terry, culminating in the incident Bridge is perhaps best remembered at City for: refusing to shake John Terry’s hand in a 4-2 win at Stamford Bridge in 2010.
Bridge played over 40 league games for The Blues, but his amount of playing time faded as players like Kolarov were signed and put ahead of him in the pecking order. He had loan spells at West Ham, Sunderland and Brighton, before joining Reading then retiring last year, aged 33.
This is a name I’m a bit reluctant to have to end the list. Being the first player to join after the takeover happened, Robinho is significant in that he almost immediately became our record signing when he joined for £33 million on the same day as City were bought. He had been expected to join Chelsea up until the day he signed, so it represented a big coup for City.
In the next two years, Robinho scored 14 goals in just over 40 league games, while also fitting in a loan spell with Santos in his second season. He then moved to AC Milan for just £15 million in 2010, where he’s won one Serie A title. He’s currently on loan at Santos for his third spell with the club, and is nearing 100 appearances for his international team Brazil.
Of course, there are many more names that could have been chosen for this list, and only one conclusion can be drawn from that – we might not be very good at signing players. Hopefully we can take advice from our past as we look to rebuild this summer.
Let us know what you think of our list, or make your own, in the comments and also on Twitter @TheMaineBlues.