Manchester City's ownership will doubtlessly soon assess where this lost season spun off its axis.
A good place to start will be a review of the club's 2012 summer transfer signings.
City's acquisitions at the time were intended to create depth for an extensive run through the Champions League and to solidify its defense of the Premier League crown.
Hindsight is always clear and true. The point here is not that City signed the wrong players. Rather, City's transfer plans were mislaid and ultimately misguided.
The amount of money City spent on new players after winning the Premier League title was absurd, even by City's already cash-crazy standards. The production from those signings has been sadly negligible.
Per the Mirror, Jack Rodwell is believed to have cost City £12 million. Limited by injury, he has played in six games all season.
It is maybe not the best talisman of future health that Rodwell, at the age of 21, is turning to driving a Jeep instead of a sports car and sleeping with a new pillow (per the Daily Mail) to address his nagging ailments.
Javi Garcia set City back £16 million, according to the BBC. Garcia has also missed time due to injury, but even when he has been healthy, he has been far from special.
Brought in for his big reputation as a defensive midfielder, Garcia has started for City only 12 times. Put another way, Garcia has made City's XI in less than half of City's matches.
City shipped £8 million more to acquire Scott Sinclair, per the Daily Mail. The club's return on that investment has been laughably sad: two starts, five appearances as a substitute, three shots, no goals.
That's £36 million for three players whose contributions to the side have been lacking or nonexistent.
Theoretically, these signings were intended to provide necessary depth for what was hoped to be a protracted Champions League run.
Instead, City failed to advance past the group stage, and all its supposed depth proved insufficient when injuries to Micah Richards and Vincent Kompany devastated the side's back line.
For that matter, neither Rodwell nor Garcia did much to fill the hole Yaya Toure left while he was playing in the African Cup of Nations.
The recent embarrassing defeat at Southampton, which saw Garcia playing out of position at centre-back next to the suddenly flat-footed Joleon Lescott, illustrated how badly City miscalculated what was really needed.
And the granular salt in the wound, of course, is that for that same £36 million, Robin van Persie could be leading the Premiership in goals for City instead of probable league champions Manchester United.
For that matter, that £36 million would have been better spent on Eden Hazard.
City's transfer acquisitions were representative of a desire to construct a team as opposed to a collection of stars.
City ended up with neither.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!