5 Worst Manchester City Signings in the Sheikh Mansour Era
When Sheikh Mansour took over Manchester City in 2008, he promised to do everything he could to turn them into a successful team. He has since spent a reported £1 billion on transfers, wages and infrastructure, revolutionising the club and turning them into Premier League and FA Cup winners.
Along the way, though, there has been more than a few wasted pounds. Here, we take a look at the five worst signings of the Sheikh Mansour era.
5: Stefan Savic
Signed: July 2011
Cost: £6 million
Unlike the other players comprising this list, Stefan Savic didn't actually cost Manchester City a fortune. His fee was just £6 million and his contract is unlikely to have been huge. His inclusion is based purely on his performances, which in the end were so bad that the City fans felt sorry for the Montenegrin.
He joined as a 20-year-old from Partizan Belgrade, with Roberto Mancini keen to bolster his defence having signed Gael Clichy in the same window. Whereas Clichy went on to establish himself as a first-team regular with some brilliant performances, Savic made just 11 appearances before leaving. His performance level ranged from bad to awful and the relief when he departed the Etihad was palpable.
Mancini managed to salvage some pride by using him as a makeweight in the move which saw the brilliant Matija Nastasic arrive from Fiorentina in 2012.
4: Aleksandar Kolarov
Signed: July 2010
Cost: £17 million
Roberto Mancini spent money far more wisely than his predecessor Mark Hughes, but one major blot on his copybook is the deal he sanctioned to bring Aleksandar Kolarov to the club.
For the price City paid, which was an incredibly high fee for a full-back, City fans can be forgiven for expecting an expert defender. After all, Kolarov had been feted for his performances in Serie A whilst playing for Lazio, a league known for the quality of its defending. What City actually got was a player with a distinct lack of defensive nous and an annoying tendency to shoot from all angles.
Juventus are reportedly interested in taking him off City’s hands. They’d be mad not to do a deal if The Old Lady’s interest becomes concrete.
3: Wayne Bridge
Signed: January 2009
Cost: £10 million
City’s problem position in 2009 was left-back, with two substandard players—Javier Garrido and Michael Ball—fighting it out for a place in the side. Mark Hughes decided enough was enough; City needed to spend big to solve their left-back problem.
In came Wayne Bridge for £10 million on a four-and-a-half year, £90,000-a-week deal. He made just 57 appearances, none of them impressive, before embarking on a series of loan moves to West Ham, Sunderland and Brighton, with City paying the majority of his wages during those spells.
He was slow, easy to beat and useless going forward throughout his time at City, not once looking like a top-quality full-back. He represents one of the worst signings the club has ever made.
His contract at City finally ended this summer and Bridge has since joined Reading on a one-year deal.
2: Emmanuel Adebayor
Signed: July 2009
Cost: £25 million
Emmanuel Adebayor cost Manchester City £25 million when he signed from Arsenal. It was supposed to be a marquee signing that signalled City’s intent on becoming a successful side. It turned out to be an expensive disaster.
He rarely performed to the standard he set during his Arsenal days and was an incredibly disruptive influence who had an inflated view of his own talents. His preoccupation with his former clubs is bordering on obsessive, highlighted perfectly by his goal celebration in City’s 4-2 win over Arsenal in 2008, which saw him run the full length of the field to celebrate in full view of the travelling Gooners.
After scoring just 15 goals, he was loaned to Real Madrid for six months in January 2011, but they decided not to sign him permanently. A season-long loan move to Tottenham immediately followed, culminating in a £5 million move in the summer of 2012.
Adebayor was reportedly on £170,000-a-week during his time at City, with the club subsidising his two loan moves. In terms of pound-for-pound value, you would have to go a long way to find a more expensive flop in football.
Or would you?
1: Roque Santa Cruz
Signed: June 2009
Cost: £17.5 million
Mark Hughes made the signing of Roque Santa Cruz a personal mission. Despite all the signs suggesting Santa Cruz was a spent force after a series of injuries in his second season at Blackburn, Hughes insisted the club make him their top transfer target, spending over six months chasing the Paraguayan’s signature. Hughes handed the striker a four-year deal and paid £17.5 million to secure his services. He scored just four goals for the club.
Hughes had worked with Santa Cruz at Blackburn, signing him from Bayern Munich for £3.5 million in 2007. In his first season at Ewood Park, he played superbly, scoring 23 goals as Blackburn finished seventh. However, injuries unsettled him in his second season as he found the net on just six occasions.
His spell at City never got going, with a series of knee and calf injuries making for a stop-start career. When he did play, he looked massively short on confidence, rarely looking capable of scoring freely.
After a disastrous 18 months, he was eventually loaned back to Blackburn, but he failed to score a goal on his return to Ewood. Loan moves to Real Betis and Malaga followed before City eventually released him in July.