He may not be top dog if “El Nino” comes to town
Sometimes rumours are timed suspiciously well. And there is nothing that fires up players like the threat of future competition for their spot.
On the eve of the big Arsenal showdown, the news is that Roberto Mancini, City’s manager is interested in launching a bid for Fernando Torres this summer. He believes that signing the Spanish striker will help City overcome the hurdle to the top.
One thing is for certain. All future high priced rumours lead to City. With endless money at their disposal, any of these have a whiff of credibility. And there is a good chance that Mancini maybe able to pull it off as the Spaniard has shown impatience with his present club.
Can a team build success through a fleet of strikers? City has not seen a striker it did not like.
In its ranks, they have Adebayor, Tevez, Craig Bellamy, and Roque Santa Cruz. The Paraguayan seems to have gracefully accepted his minor role as Tevez and Adebayor have combined for 35 goals. Add Bellamy and Santa Cruz and you have 44 goals. The most potent combination of strikers in the Premiership. Shooting your way out clearly has its upside.
The midfield however is a bit of a mystery. In a rotating crew of midfielders, three who have holding positions and three wingers leaves Steven Ireland strangely as the only creator. And he has shown that he takes those responsibilities very lightly. When he is on, he helps organize the attack immensely. But he is not world class. This is the area that Mancini should focus on. And there is a real time example to see what a genuine playmaker can accomplish. His old club hired Wesley Sneijder and they are now on the brink of the ultimate prize after years of European doldrums.
Someone like Torres takes away from City’s midfield limitations.
Much of City’s goalscoring has come through sheer hustle and in Tevez and Bellamy they have two of the best in the business. However, their game was exposed against Utd at Eastlands.
Against Man Utd, with Adebayor up top, Tevez had to drop back to retrieve the ball because of very little link up play. City was forced to try and catch out Utd with long balls as the short passing game suffered. There were clearly moments when all three strikers were not on the same page. Adebayor was a bit more deferential, whereas Bellamy was more indiscriminate, much to Tevez’s peeve.
There are other dangers.
When asked who he thought should be on his team, Tevez named Rooney, Messi, and himself to his 4-3-3 dream team. Cristiano Ronaldo was named as an alternative.
“OK … let me think … Wayne Rooney is the best in the world. It was a privilege to play with him, I will always feel that way towards him. When we played together with Cristiano, the three of us, this was a great moment in my career.”
And he likes Craig Bellamy, who has had his problems with Roberto Mancini:
” Bellamy feels football. It gives me confidence when I see his name is on the City teamsheet. He’s a big player for this club. I like his attitude very much.”
Feeling the game is a recurrent Tevez theme. I maybe reading too much into it but Tevez may not feel too warmly towards a Torres. On a tactical level, adding a quality striker like Torres gives you the 4-3-3 option, which relegates Santa Cruz and Bellamy to footnotes. But on a more emotive level, it is Tevez and Adebayor who will feel threatened. Like Robinho, who ultimately decided to be the big fish in a small pond. Maybe Wenger does not have to go all the way to Real to wait for their rejects. A shorter distance might net better results.