Date: 21st January 2008 at 8:50am
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Clear Blue water required. 10 days until the transfer window closes and the rumour mills are going into overdrive…

…Blues are waking up this morning to the latest ‘Street of Shame*’ generated transfer rumours. What has been noticeable this past three weeks is that the rumours have focused frequently upon who is leaving Fortress Eastlands, as opposed to arriving and to an extent that we hadn’t bargained for.

Alledgedly, one Kevin Keegan, a man all too familiar with the brilliant work of the Manchester City Academy is after Micah Richards who has been increasingly touted in some circles as a potential makeweight or transfer funding sale in the absence of any big money signings by City to date this month.

Not only that, Mad Kev is said to be in for Bayern Munich’s Daniel Van Buyten and Chelski’s Shaun Wright-Phillips. If realised, that’s two signings that would infuriate a good number of Blues as they are assets that would clearly strengthen our own relatively small young squad.

One thing’s for sure, this morning I’d bet my croissant that City fans worldwide would never have predicted that there would be no significant squad strengthening signings made by the club during the first three weeks of this month. Given that the Nery Castillo deal was arranged before Christmas. The inactivity reminds me of the January torture during the Pearce-Wigley era when we knew we were in deep merde. I recall that our by now widely accepted Greek Tragedy, Georgios Samaras, came in at the last minute one year and the rest has been pisspoor history, lest we forget.

Maybe when Svennis talked about big name signings at the turn of the year he misjudged the fact that major transfers are rare in the January window. He has since acknowledged that fact, but when we steadily see the clubs around us strengthening their squads for the end of season run-in, there is cause for concern. Not least because our side is clearly underperforming now, looking dead legged and needs a lift. The stuttering performances this week against West Ham United should set alarm bells ringing considering the far tougher challenges February will bring.

I maintain that City are still contenders, have a terrifically talented young squad and that the future remains ours. Late January finds us in fifth place. What an opportunity to play in Europe next season this presents. Considering the size and lack of depth of our squad, the team have certainly done well to stay in the European places but you can see they are flagging.

If the club fails to recruit this month, I am sure it will not be for want of trying by Sven and his team, but we need some reassurance that Academy graduates will not be sacrificed in order to strengthen the squad elsewhere. Considering Dr. Thaksin’s statements upon buying the club, selling to buy should not even be an issue, but a clear statement of intent and an update on the progress made both off an on the pitch would be welcome.

I appreciate the fact that City are aiming to not be held to ransom by other clubs and I like Sven’s straight bat style in dealing with press conference transfer inquiries.

But if we are to compete at the very top level and build upon the tremendous achievements of the season so far then we are going to have to recruit and recruit quickly.

Street of Shame* copyright Private Eye


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