By Robert Morris
With Manchester City having only conceded one goal out of five games in all competitions, it seems City have little to worry about by way of the defence. However, with the departure of Craig Bellamy to Cardiff and now Robinho to AC Milan, the Blues are now arguably struggling in terms of title-winning attacking options. Their one exception, Carlos Tevez has won his fair share of trophies; unfortunately for Blues fans, with Manchester United. Since his highly controversial move across Manchester, Tevez has won over any doubters and become a real fans favourite, which is perhaps why Roberto Mancini decided to name him the 2010 Club Captain. Tevez’s commitment and hunger has never been in doubt, and with his cool head from the spot and ability to score in big games, it’s fair to see why comparisons have been drawn to the great Diego Maradona. However, one could suggest the Argentine lacks a top quality partner; let’s run down the list of options:
Jo, who was signed in 2008 for £18 million, failed to settle, and after two loan moves later has returned to Manchester in a bid to recapture his goal scoring form which saw him strike 44 goals in 77 games for CSKA Moscow. This outstanding record earned him a call-up to the Brazilian national team. However, Jo very much remains an unknown quantity in English football, although his spell at Everton hardly promised much with 5 goals in 27 games.
Roque Santa Cruz was signed by Mark Hughes in June 2009 for a reported £17.5 million. Low down on the pecking order since day one and hindered by injuries, the Paraguayan has been unable to transfer his impressive goal record from Blackburn Rovers to the City of Manchester Stadium. At the age of 29, Santa Cruz was understandably desperate for first-team football and a move in the transfer window looked a certainty. However, no deal was made with Italian club Lazio, leaving the striker to stay and fight for his place. But could his morale be at an all time low?
Emmanuel Adebayor’s Manchester City career started with a bang when he scored four goals in four consecutive matches for the club. In comparison to both Jo and Santa Cruz, Adebayor’s hefty £25 million price tag could perhaps turn into a good bit of business for City as the Togolese international netted a promising 14 goals in his first season. Nonetheless, as the ex-Arsenal star has lacked first-team opportunities in this year’s campaign, rumours have emerged that the temperamental striker is now unsettled. If he remains on the bench for much longer Mancini will do well to prevent him from disrupting the rest of the squad.
Turning twenty years of age just a fortnight ago, Mario Balotelli undoubtedly has the potential to be a world class striker one day. His pace and technical ability have been admired by some of the greatest managers across the globe, although it was his fiery nature which saw him more or less forced away from Inter Milan. A terrible disciplinary record in his home country of Italy, Super Mario now has a fresh start in England and can begin to pay back the faith shown by his former boss Roberto Mancini. However, Balotelli is still young and would be naïve to think he will walk his way into this side. With this in mind, English football and in particularly, Manchester City may not be to Mario’s tastes.