Manchester: Manchester City splurged £38 million (Dh139.5 million) on the closing day of the transfer window on four players, with Roberto Mancini maintaining he was “happy” with them despite missing out on a first-choice quartet worth £116m.
In the final 24 hours, Mancini signed Benfica’s Javi Garca for £15.8m, Fiorentina’s Matija Nastasic for £12m — including Stefan Savic as a makeweight — Swansea City’s Scott Sinclair for £6.2m and Internazionale’s Maicon for £4m. He also recruited Richard Wright on a free transfer as his third choice goalkeeper.
Yet at the start of the window Mancini targeted Robin van Persie, who went to Manchester United for £22m, Roma’s Daniele De Rossi, valued at £30m but who stayed at the club, Eden Hazard, bought instead by Chelsea for £32m, and Javi Martinez, who cost Bayern Munich £32m.
Asked about his signings the manager, speaking before the 11pm deadline, said: “When you finish the season, you have a meeting with the club, you talk about some players but sometimes maybe it is not possible to take all the players you want. You should have a different choice. But if I get these players, I am happy.
“If we sign these players we’ve talked about, I think we’ll improve our team. They come to play in a different championship [apart from Sinclair] and maybe they need time. We are talking about one top player in Maicon, because he has experience. Nastajic will be one of the top defenders for a long time.”
Mancini has voiced his frustrations with Brian Marwood, the club’s football administration officer, for missing out on his prime targets. Now the Italian claimed to have shifted his position. “I was frustrated as it is difficult to do everything in one week or 10 days, only this reason. Now I think they have worked very well in the last two weeks,” he said.
Yet it seemed odd that, after he identified his favoured players in May, all of Mancini’s recruitment, the £15m signing Jack Rodwell apart, occurred in the window’s closing 24 hours. “This is the market, this is a problem for Manchester City or Paris St Germain, every time you go to buy one player the other club can ask £20m. This is not correct from the other club and this could be the problem,” he said.
Of Sinclair he said: “He plays in the same position as Adam Johnson but the difference is that Adam works with the ball at his feet and Sinclair runs into space. There are some differences but they are both wingers. Adam did very well for us, scoring goals. I hope Sinclair can do like Adam or better.”
Elsewhere, there were record transfers for newly-promoted Swansea City and Southampton. The Swans signed Pablo Hernandez from Valencia for £5.55m on a three-year contract subject to international clearance as a direct replacement for Sinclair.
Southampton paid in the region of £12m for the 21-year-old Uruguayan Gaston Ramirez, a player who also interested Liverpool and Tottenham.
Joey Barton, meanwhile, has finally left Queens Park Rangers and thanked the club for giving him the opportunity to join Marseille on a season-long loan.
Barton launched a series of tirades against QPR via Twitter after he was forced to train with the youth team, but he appears to be leaving the west London club on good terms after finalising a temporary move to the Ligue 1 leaders, while Stephane Mbia has gone in the opposite direction in a permanent deal.
“I am now a player for L’OM. What a birthday present! Cannot wait to get going. allezL’OM,” tweeted Barton.