Adam Johnson is a good player. He's the sort of player that long term the club should be investing in and as a signal of intent shows Brian Marwood in a positive light. The problem is that as a left winger the former Middlesbrough man has both Martin Petrov and Craig Bellamy in front of him. Johnson can play a decent right wing, but even so any reasonable reading of the tea leaves is that Petrov will leave in the summer. Whether Johnson is better than Petrov isn't the issue; because he isn't. In two to three years Johnson will most certainly exceed the Bulgarian's quality today. However the club is looking at the short term of getting into the Champions League and I'd expect Bellamy and Petrov to have a larger role until the end of the season.
Johnson is a good buy. The sort of squad building that I have praised Ferguson for over at United. Given the right circumstances and patience by all involved I would expect to see this be a success.
McDonald Mariga on the other hand can lay claim to being a textbook example of why I get so frustrated about the transfer window. I don't remember at what point during the day it hit me, "wait a minute he's Kenyan, he'll not get a work permit in a month of Sundays." and alas I was proven right. There is a precedent here with Liverpool and their pursuit of Chilean winger Mark Gonzalez three years ago. Despite being believed to be a quality player at the time Gonzalez had great difficulty in obtaining a work permit because of his countries low ranking in world soccer. Why City could have thought the outcome would be any different is beyond me.
What City should have done is signed Margia earlier in the transfer window regardless of whether a work permit was going to be approved and then gone through the process knowing that they would be able to find a willing partner to loan the player to should the application fail. With no leeway on the final day of the transfer window the club ended up pulling out of the deal and the Parma midfielder was instead transferred to Inter who you have to think would have been happy to loan the player if City had made the signing and then lost the work permit process.
Finally we have Fernando Gago Real Madrid's out of favour midfielder. Lots of press out there that a fee was agreed but City couldn't get in touch with owner Sheikh Mansour prior to the deadline. City really need to clarify this one as it makes the club look silly if the owner wasn't by a phone on the last day of the transfer window.
No Left Back, no play maker, no back up target man, certainly no world class central defender although frankly I had no great hope that the latter would be found in this window. Instead Mancini strengthens with an aging Arsenal legend and a bright prospect.
Honestly I'm not sure what to make of this. I didn't expect massive spending. The last two transfer windows were extraordinary for City and I took the club at its word that this was a massive rebuilding project at an accelerated pace.
City currently project to 71 points. I like Mancini and in particular his in game work. City have I believe won more points under Mancini than they would have under Hughes but this transfer window seemed to me to be the opportunity for the new manager to bring something to the vision of the squad with insightful acquisition.
Maybe that's just it, maybe Mancini's insight is that the squad was essentially fine and it was only the tactics that were holding the club back. I see weakness in key areas in the squad and a similarity of skill in players rather than a mixture of a first team supported by both key veterans and up and coming youngsters. Is Mancini addressing this with Johnson and Vieira? Hard to say.
We'll find out more at the end of the month when City play Liverpool at home and Chelsea away in the space of six days. Maximum points and Mancini is a genius, a total of three or more and it's acceptable. Two points or less and we'll point back to this transfer window as a lost opportunity.