Manchester City Sign Jack Rodwell: Analyzing City's Latest Transfer

Vince SiuFeatured ColumnistAugust 13, 2012

Manchester City Sign Jack Rodwell: Analyzing City's Latest Transfer

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    The latest news this Sunday is that Manchester City have signed ex-Everton midfielder Jack Rodwell in a deal worth £12 million, rising to £17 million (BBC Sport).

    Just days after Robert Mancini expressed his frustrations at not being able to make any signings this summer transfer window (ESPNSoccernet), and amidst rumors linking City with a swoop for AS Roma’s Daniele De Rossi (Daily Mail), the Rodwell signing comes as a shock, to say the least.

    Let’s take a look at the Rodwell deal and seven things we can take away from City’s latest move in the transfer market.

A Good Decision by Everton to Let Rodwell Go

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    From the looks of it, losing one of their top prospects to a title challenger (indeed, the Premier League champions) seems to enhance Everton’s reputation as a selling club.

    But the more we look at the transfer and what it means to Everton, the more it makes sense for David Moyes’ team.

    Because while Jack Rodwell had become sort of a new poster boy for Everton’s youth products, his career stalled at Goodison Park in recent seasons, and he has not yet fulfilled the promise that he showed to attract interest from the likes of Manchester United as recently as 2011 (ESPNSoccernet).

    David Moyes is well stocked in his midfield department and can afford to let Rodwell—a relatively unpolished gem—depart.

    And by getting a chunk of money in return, he might be able to hold off United’s rumored interest in left-back Leighton Baines (Daily Mail).

A Shift in City’s Transfer Policy

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    Of course, the signing deal also continues City’s prolific recent history of buying players, but it also marks a shift in their transfer policy.

    Daniele De Rossi seemed a more typical City transfer because he is an experienced international (not to mention Italian as well) and a player regarded as world class in his position.

    By opting for Rodwell, City are investing in his potential and the future, which is markedly different from their habit of buying established stars on eye-popping wages.

    Rodwell also enhances City’s English contingent and reflects their emphasis on developing domestic talent alongside international superstars, which should be very encouraging as a whole.

United Beware

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    Given United’s alleged past interest in Rodwell, perhaps City also had one eye on this history when they tied up the Rodwell deal.

    While Sir Alex Ferguson was busy with his public pursuit of Arsenal’s Robin van Persie in the past few days (ESPNSoccernet), City were busy securing their man on a long-term contract.

    We'll never know whether United were in the loop with regard to the transfer all along and chose not to compete with City for Rodwell, but the implicit message is clear: Manchester United beware.

City Are Conducting Their Business in the Right Way

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    When news broke that Everton had accepted City’s bid for Rodwell, a widespread reaction was one of surprise.

    Surprise at City’s target, certainly, but also surprise at the private nature in which the bid had been conducted.

    With “tapping up” a pervasive culture all across Europe in the transfer windows, and with agents touting their clients to potential suitors via the media, this was a transfer conducted behind the scenes and with all the professionalism and respect that should be more prevalent.

    United have been very close with Everton in recent years in terms of transfers between both clubs, but City might have curried themselves into favor with the Everton management with this deal.

More Signings to Come Before the Summer Ends

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    The backdrop to this, of course, is that Mancini was not long ago complaining to the media that sporting director Brian Marwood had not made significant moves in the transfer market (Independent).

    Was that just a smokescreen?

    Mancini matched Ferguson in terms of mind games toward the end of last season when he deflected the title pressure onto the Red Devils.

    Has he started them before the season has even begun?

    What the Rodwell transfer reflects is that City are moving behind the scenes, and that we can expect to see more signings before the August 31 transfer window deadline.

    And given Rodwell’s arrival and boost to City’s midfield coffers, Nigel de Jong, who has been linked with a move away from the Etihad (Daily Mail), might be on his way in the next few weeks.

A Test of Rodwell’s Ability

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    Now is a time to realize Rodwell’s potential.

    Rodwell is a young prospect with the versatility, strength and overall footballing ability to become an England regular in the future.

    But he had spent his entire career in the middle regions of the Premier League, eased in and out of the side by David Moyes and generally kept under wraps to protect him from the limelight.

    It’s all different now.

    How will Rodwell cope with the pressures that come with a team bidding to retain the Premier League title? With the Champions League?

    Even if he will start the campaign on the bench, all eyes will be trained on him when he finally takes to the pitch as a Premier League substitute, a Cup starter.

    The pressure is on.

A Test of Mancini’s, and City’s, Approach

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    But most significantly for City, now is a time to discover Roberto Mancini’s ideas for City going forward.

    It is precisely because Rodwell is a rough diamond that Mancini will need to take the time, effort and patience to develop him into a regular City starter.

    So not only will the pressure be on Rodwell to prove his ability on the football pitch, it will also be on Mancini himself to show that he will make the right choice in blooding Rodwell into his team.

    We’ll see this season how devoted Mancini is to City’s future, or whether short-term success is in the forefront of his mind.

    Equally, Mancini’s approach will reflect to all Premier League fans how City’s owners view their club: As a long-term investment? Or as a silverware-hogging machine?

     

    Also check out: Ranking City's Home Kits for the Last 10 Seasons

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