The sale of Nigel De Jong is an extremely strange one. Widely regarded as one of the world’s best defensive midfielders, Manchester City are letting the Dutchman leave City for a measly £3.5m to AC Milan. Hardly a good return on for a player in his prime, especially compared to the price he was bought for – £18m.
Nevertheless, Manchester City’s loss is AC Milan’s gain. A domineering defensive midfielder, De Jong is known for a hard tackle and his ability to throttle and dominate the midfield. In fact, despite his “dirty player” reputation, Nigel De Jong has only been sent off once in his career, in the Europa League for Hamburg – for dissent.
This shows a sensible player, one who can be relied on and for £3.5m AC Milan have the bargain of the summer. De Jong is improving Milan’s midfield and is someone who can more than live up to the legacy of Gennaro Gattuso before him.
So who will City replace him with? Victor Wanyama of Celtic; Javi Garcia of Benfica and Daniele De Rossi of Roma have all been touted as De Jong’s successor and time will tell (1 day in fact) whom City will sign to replace him.
What we can know for sure, is that City, if they do not replace De Jong – they will have weakened, and given their Champions League group, that isn’t something that they should be doing right now.
What has happened to City this transfer window? The departure of Adam Johnson has signalled the signing of an arguably weaker winger in Scott Sinclair. They have sold one of the Premier League’s best strikers – Emmanuel Adebayor – for a measly £5m, put into perspective, Blackburn Rovers are paying £8m for League 1 top scorer Jordan Rhodes.
The same can be said for De Jong being sold for £3.5m to AC Milan and Adam Johnson being sold for just £10m to Sunderland, less than what West Ham paid for Matt Jarvis.
Why are City selling for so little? Why are City letting players of such quality go for such measly amounts?
Brian Marwood, Manchester City’s Football Administration Officer, is the man who can be blamed with the calamity of City’s transfer window.
Roberto Mancini came into the summer with Thiago Silva, Eden Hazard, Robin Van Persie and Daniele De Rossi as his main targets, while De Rossi has a slim chance of coming to City before the deadline tomorrow night, City have lost out on every account while Marwood has taken FIFA’s new FFP rules extremely seriously unlike teams such as Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United this summer.
Marwood’s reluctance to part with cash until the sales of particular players like Emmanuel Adebayor and Adam Johnson had left the club left City in an awkward position. City couldn’t sell the players, therefore sold them cheaply to get them off the wage bill, freeing up funds for new signings.
Hence the reason why City are going into tomorrow’s transfer deadline day to sign 5 players. Maicon – the Inter Milan right back perfect for Roberto Mancini’s new 3-5-2; Richard Wright – the ex Arsenal goalkeeper to replace third choice City keeper Stuart Taylor who’s joined Reading; Javi Garcia – the Benfica defensive midfielder to replace Milan bound Nigel De Jong; Matija Nastasic – a ball playing centre half who is also a perfect fit for Mancini’s 3-5-2.
The last signing, Scott Sinclair, is to replace Adam Johnson. Clearly bought to be a squad player, Scott Sinclair offers City pace, something they lack up front especially. It can be seen as a panic buy, but City are mainly buying him for the English quota and compared to many other English wingers (Downing £20m), Sinclair is pretty cheap.
Why did City sell AJ to replace him with Sinclair though? Mainly Marwood and FFP. His insistence to bring down the wage bill means City sold £90,000 a week Johnson to replace him with £40,000 a week Sinclair, saving £50,000 a week and £2.6m a year.
Some may say Sinclair is ruining his career but Adam Johnson even said he’s happy he had his time with City as he now has something to show for his career. Hopefully Sinclair can do the same.
Written by Henry Francis
Follow me on Twitter @TheHenryFrancis
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