The Exit Door Gains Momentum
On a day when tonight's match in Vancouver, Canada was postponed for 24 hours due to a seriously flooded pitch, business carries on as usual at the Etihad Stadium as two players were confirmed as leavers and Tevez self-imposed exit moved to another step.
City fans will probably be sorry to see Shay Given leaves. Fantastic bloke, great goalkeeper and true professional, it seemed a shame that he was spending his time on the bench awaiting the call that wasn't going to come. Yes despite having the shortcomings that I have commented on in previous reports, Shay was instrumental in helping City along the path they have chosen, but for me did not have quite what Brad Friedel had and was never comfortable dealing with crosses into his six-yard box.
I was a goalkeeper when I played at a much lower level, but my coaches always said ' If it's in the six yard box it's yours - get after it, if you don't get it you will get a free kick. Also if you can get your hands to it you can catch it.' Sadly Shay never really got the feel of this and there were a number of matches, where unaided by Richards uncertainty at the time, crosses from the left ended up in the back of the net. I'm not sure how much work he put into putting that right. He was a vocal keeper who ensured his men were in position and marking up, but I feel I must level the cross criticism at him.
We'll probably pick up a couple of million for him, wish him well and hope he doesn't have a blinder against us when we play Villa, where he may well be renewing acquaintance with Richard Dunne.
Jerome Boateng never really showed us what he can do. Injured early in his tenure when tackling an airborne trolley dolly, he spent much of the first half of last season on the treatment table. When he got his chance it was largely at right back where he was under pressure from Richards and Zabaleta both of which were preferred as the season progressed.
His favourite position was centre back but the sterling performances of Vincent Kompany and after Christmas, Joleon Lescott, left him short of that option. The odd matches that he played in the centre were his best for City in my opinion. Again the till will rattle no doubt with an eight-figure amount as he heads home to Germany to play with Bayern Munich.
Purchased for the right reasons, being a young international of quality his stay at Eastlands was unfortunate for him, but what it did serve to prove was how other players, under a similar threat upgraded their play to ensure that they wouldn't warm the bench when he returned. We all saw the improvement of Richards in the second half of the season, after I had him headed for the exit chute in January. Zabaleta never seems to have a bad game no matter what happens to him.
The Tevez saga as expected has more twists and turns than the Pyrenees Stages of the Tour de France, but with time now pressing ahead of the closure of the Brazilian window, I think we can expect the loose ends to be tied up tomorrow allowing him to return to within a thousand miles or so of his family. There is some doubt as to how Corninthians can fund this move but no doubt Arthur Daley has got his next move planned for January, so that they can get their money back.
One of the most influential players for City in recent times, providing the springboard for what could be unlimited success after a dark age of 35 years, Tevez goes with the blessing of the Blue Moon faithful and as Patrick Vieira said on TV today - he leaves but the Club moves on. We will miss him much more than Robinho or Elano, much more than Goater and Anelka but I agree with Vieira on this one. In will come another quality signing, hopefully Aguero and I'm certain that we will see the Dzeko plan unfold over the early weeks of the season.
So it's excitement all the way at the Etihad Stadium. Let's watch the Vital space in earnest and see what unfolds later this week.