NOTW brings to us news that Man City has all but signed Carlos Tevez and Samuel Eto’o to the Eastlands. The total sum, a whopping £55 million. All great and wonderful. City should have enough firepower to sink Kim Jong Il all by themselves. But here is the headscratcher. Who is ready to sit on the bench?
You have Robinho and Roque already. The two of them cost the same amount of money as will Eto’o and Tevez, if NOTW is to be believed. The price tag for all four players is £106 million. They will be absolutely forgiven if they believe that all of them should start. But that is unlikely.
Thin skinned Tevez has made sure that regular appearances is the key to his staying on a club. This was made amply clear when he emphatically rejected Sir Alex’s entreaties to remain in Man Utd. Eto’o's move is for the same reason as Barca seek to upgrade by linking themselves with David Villa. Lest we forget, Eto’o was in running for the Pichichi before being pipped by Diego Forlan this season. All those goal were instrumental in Barca winning the title. The evergreen Cameroonian would be forgiven in believing that he might be responsible for leading City to unprecedented heights. Robinho has worked himself back in Hughes favour. His creativity was never in doubt, only his application. Both are meshing well for City at the moment. Hughes was a big fan of Roque Santa Cruz from his Blackburn days. The big Paraguayan striker was targeted the day Hughes was made coach of City. His dogged persistence finally landed Santa Cruz on the fifth attempt. Roque’s aerial ability is just what City need to compensate for their hitherto undersized attack.
If that is not complicated enough, the role players also add upto a pretty packet in transfer fees for City.
You have Jo out on loan to Everton with his fate unclear. David Moyes does not seem in any hurry to pick up his £18 million transfer fee. Craig Bellamy, a highly rated Hughes favourite was a January transfer target who cost any where between £10 million and £14 million. Felipe Caciedo brought from Basel for £5.2 million has impressed fans with his late form this season. Then there is out of favour Valeri Bojinov and Benjani who total £10 million in fees. Ched Evans the highly rated Welsh youngster will see even rarer appearances with so much experience bought in one season. His compatriot Daniel Sturridge is on his way to Chelsea with a tribunal settling on the fee. And then there is Darius Vessell. Yes, Man City fans, he is still around.
Then there are others. SWP who has found his goal scoring touch at City benefiting from regular appearances under Mark Hughes in contrast to the frustratingly abbreviated cameos he had under Jose Mourinho and Avram Grant. He returned from Chelsea with a £8.5 million price tag last season. On the opposite flank, Martin Petrov’s spot is in danger. How are both to fare in this revamped line up?
All told, Mark Hughes has a bench full of forwards and wingers worth about £60 million.
Who starts and who sits could very well be amongst the controversies that Mark Hughes might be confronted with next season. Hughes used to much simpler times at Blackburn might need to pull off a tightrope act to ensure that disillusionment does not set in those high priced transfers with their big egos. He could do without those distractions.