This isn't just about Elano, although this squad plus Elano would be my pick to win the title next year. Instead this is about Elano, Robinho and Kaka.
City's bid for Kaka 18 months ago was ill conceived and poorly timed. Kaka and Robinho for that matter, are players that add a finishing touch to a project, not the foundation. Luiz Felipe Scolari said as much at Chelsea, if he'd had Robinho he would have won the title and I happen to agree with him.
Kaka is a poor fit at a Mourinho Real Madrid. I doubt the Brazilian will be moved this summer however I'm fairly certain that next summer will be a different story. By then this City squad will have come together as a team. It will be looking for the one great signing to take them over the top. Kaka, despite the animosity of the first attempt to sign him, can still be that signing. But it will require a happy Robinho and the return of Elano.
Far fetched? I don't think so. City have, according to reports, told Santos that Robinho must return and will not be going back on loan. The excellent World Cup shows that Robinho is still a quality world class* talent, to sell on such a player is foolish.
Instead City should swallow their pride and look to bring back Elano. Still a fan favourite Elano had a poor season in Turkey and yet as with Robinho the World Cup showed just how much quality the midfielder possesses. More importantly the World Cup also illustrated just how devastatingly good Robinho, Elano and Kaka work together.
Worst case Robinho should be loaned out to a Spanish club he should not be sold under any circumstances. Mancini despite the vast sums afforded him this summer is on thin ice. Any prediction of a top four spot this season is wishful thinking at best given the significant additions to the club. Didi Hamann was correct with his recent observations about City.
"They should have finished in the top four last season and they didn't," Hamann told the Daily Mirror. "There is every chance they will not finish there again because Liverpool will be better next season and Tottenham, Arsenal and Everton will also be up there.
"I don't see City as title contenders. They need to bring some continuity to the club and stick with the players they have got. They have got to choose them carefully and buy the right ones. But if they keep doing what they are at the moment I don't see them challenging Manchester United or Chelsea.
"They have a turnover of 10 to 15 players every season and if they keep doing this they are not going anywhere. You need consistency and continuity at a football club. I don't agree with what they are doing now
That is the best analysis I've seen all off season, although not surprising from someone with such a smart footballing brain.
So keep Robinho, keep him happy by bringing back Elano and build a team. Then next season go after Kaka. If Mancini can't handle the personalities involved then he isn't the manager that City need.
Brian Marwood and Garry Cook need to man up and admit their mistake. The club should have never have shipped out Elano. The return would give the club back the quality play of not only Robinho but quite possibly Stephen Ireland who flourished when Elano was in the team. A quality City squad, playing as a team with quality at every position all of a sudden becomes a lot more interesting to a player of Kaka's stature...
*World Class is always an interesting definition. I mean true world class not merely incredible good. Liverpool have one world class player, Torres. Gerrard who could be called world class two years ago is no longer at that level. Arsenal have two world class players, Fabregas and Van Persie. The same with Chelsea with Ashley Cole and Drogba. Lampard like Gerrard has lost something the last couple of years. Spurs have one, Modric and United have two, Rooney and Vidic. Yes Rooney had a poor world cup however he's still class. Which leaves City with two true world class players, Tevez and Robinho. No one else in the Premier League has a world class player.