Another shocker in our transfer greats and flops series, and this time it’s Manchester City – no strangers to terrible transfers in the past – with a more recent waste of time and money, as STEPHEN TUDOR explains.
Every fanbase believes their club has been profligate far too often down the years, paying over the odds for that striker who couldn’t hit the proverbial barn door or shelling out a fortune on that one-season wonder a mere matter of weeks after he’d enjoyed a wonderful season. Manchester City supporters are no different and can wearily point to the £17.5million frittered on ‘Crocky’ Santa Cruz in recent times while harking back to the infamous Steve Daley farrago of 1979, a misstep so costly it led to chairman Peter Swales and manager Malcolm Allison blaming one another to their graves.
Yet, neither the injury-cursed Paraguayan nor the unfortunate Daley – who the Observer once termed “the biggest waste of money in football history” – can justifiably be regarded as City’s worst ever signing. Why? Because, as implied at the beginning, every club is guilty of extravagant misjudgements and, quite frankly, God bless every last one of them. These expensive misfits provide comedic value if nothing else and more importantly act as banter currency. Without them we’d all have a lot less mud to throw at one another.
What most clubs don’t do, however, is pay a fee for a player who is patently over the hill – to the extent that the hill is a tiny mound in the rear-view mirror – despite already being blessed with two fantastic performers who specialise in that player’s position.
That’s the baffling decision Roberto Mancini took in the summer of 2012 when an out-of-favour Maicon Sisenando became available from Inter for a knockdown £3million.
Mancini, of course, knew the marauding Brazilian well from his successful reign in Serie A but with Pablo Zabaleta flourishing into his combative best and Micah Richards having recently scooped all manner of awards from the season before, it left many a Blue scratching their heads.
When Maicon was in his prime he was a machine who patrolled the right touchline with such energetic authority the opposing winger and full-back presumably booked a joint counselling session the morning after. Arguably the only right-back around who could touch him was Dani Alves and a failure to dislodge Maicon from the national side left the simple and incontestable conclusion that the Inter juggernaut was, for a spell at least, the best in the world.
At the Etihad he wasn’t the best in the world. He wasn’t even the second best in his role. A prolonged injury to Richards ensured the 31-year-old at least warmed the bench for most of the campaign but in his nine appearances it’s a struggle to recall a single contribution of note. He passed a bit, over-lapped occasionally, and statistically speaking there must have inevitably been a tackle or two. Yet it was abysmally clear that this former colossus was now a faint trace of the player he once was.
He left the following summer, one of the first orders of business for new incumbent Manuel Pellegrini. Nobody really cared much beyond a vague happiness that the wage-bill had been lightened.
That, alas, is the legacy of Maicon Douglas Sisenando at Manchester City, a player who only a few seasons earlier had been widely regarded as one of the planet’s elite. He arrived to puzzlement. He left to apathy.