The decision to loan Benjani to Sunderland will no doubt provide a bit of a shock to the supporters base that has been concerned about a lack of scoring punch beyond Carlos Tevez recently. Benjani scored the only goal in City’s 1-0 victory over Boro in the FA Cup Third Round, and has a reputation for lively play inside the opposition 18”.
Combined with the loan deal that sent Robinho to Santos, City enters the final portion of Premier League matches and the fifth round of the FA Cup with substantially less going forward. The signing of Adam Johnson from Boro will certainly help in the league, he is FA Cup tied, and will play no further role in that competition.
While the collapse of the Gago deal may actually provide a blessing in disguise for City, the failure to secure McDonald Mariga thanks to the UK Home Office is a devastating blow for the club. Additionally, the failure to sign Victor Moses, a young striker with tremendous future upside was disappointing.
When Patrick Vieria returns from injury, this transfer window will truly be judged. If the former Arsenal great provides the leadership and midfield cover necessary, Mancini’s cautious movement can be applauded for not unsettling the team too greatly. However, if Moses provides a spark for local rival, Wigan and Benjani helps revitalize Sunderland’s season, question will no doubt be asked of the manager.
Filed under: Benjani, Ched Evans, Craig Bellamy, Daniel Sturridge, Darius Vassell, Elano, Felipe Caicedo, Jo, Mark Hughes, Robinho
The injuries to Benjani and Bojinov now doubled with Bellamy and Robinho both set to miss significant time begs the question as to whose next among City’s attacking players to go down. City is left with thin options up front. Darrius Vassell could always be thrown into the mix as conceivably could Elano, but among pure strikers you are left with a 19 year old Daniel Sturridge and two 20 year olds Ched Evans, and Felipe Caiecedo.
Mark Hughes decision to let Jo leave on loan to Everton looked like solid business two months ago but now has to be questioned. Nonetheless, City should have Robinho back sooner than Bellamy.
Wednesday’s match against Aston Villa, a side whose away form has been outstanding presents a challenge for the youngsters. Will they be able to step up?
In advance of today’s Boxing Day clash with Hull, Benjani has been ruled out yet again with an injury. Jo, whose form has been shocking is on the bench and Felipe Caicedo gets his first start of the Premier League campaign. Caicedo has scored a goal in each of City’s last two matches, in the UEFA Cup against Racing and in the league versus West Brom.
This morning, Marcus Senna of Villereal who was heroic over the summer for Spain in Euro 2008, was linked with a potential move to City in January. While I’ve been concerned about brining in non English based players in January, Senna would compliment Robinho well in the Blues attack.
Benjani’s latest injury setback. ironically as his transfers to/from Pompey come into greater scrutiny now leaves City with either inexperienced strikers (Sturridge and Evans) or ones whose form and quality has been severely lacking this season (Vassell and Jo).
Given the amount of transfer money spent on Jo this summer, and the reputation he came to club with, this is the time where he must step up. City must gain ground during the Boxing Day/New Year’s period in order to realistically compete for the European place that skipper Richard Dunne still believes is possible. Thus any conversation about January transfer targets is irrelevant for the time being.
Mark Hughes, I believe is still the right man for the job at Eastlands. His track record with Wales and Blackburn speaks for itself. The injuries that City have suffered since August and the flux created by the sale of the club have all adversely affected the performance of the team. However, the handling of the Striker situation in Benjani’s absence could go a long way to determining Hughes long term prospects with Manchester City.