Transfer talk: Vieira, Veron and the rest

Following news of City’s interest in Patrick Vieira (age 33), comes the startling revelation we’ve been turned down in a bid for Juan Sebastian Veron (age 35!). Throw in Ivan Cordoba (age 33) and you get three players with a combined age of 101. How to make sense of this?

Like any new manager Roberto Mancini needs some leeway to bring in his own players to reach the targets he was given on his appointment. As we all know, the target is a top four finish this season so he’s looking at players who can come in and do a job immediately. None of these three could be considered long, or even medium, term signings.

He appears to be looking at players who he knows personally, and who know his methods. They are all veterans of trophy winning campaigns who may add a necessary bit of experience and familiarity with Mancini’s tactics. Whether they are also up to the rigours of a Premier League campaign is much more debateable.

Patrick Vieira

Vieira has looked well past his best in recent years, even if Arsene Wenger pointed out that he now seems to be fully fit for the first time in a long time. The French international would give additional height to our midfield, which is always useful in the Premier League, especially for defending set pieces. On the other hand a a pairing of Vieira and Barry would hardly be the most mobile.

Vieira’s arrival may be bad news for Vincent Kompany’s hopes of a midfield berth.

Ivan Cordoba

Although known as a centre-back, Ivan Cordoba is capable of playing right-back, which is hopefully the position Mancini has in mind. A 33-year-old 5′ 8″ centre-back hardly sounds like the kind of commanding presence we’re supposed to be looking for.

Juan Sebastian Veron

Veron may be enjoying a swansong back in Argentina, but he was to slow for the Premier League in his physical prime. If Mancini could have finally coaxed some winning performances out of him, then it would have been quite amusing, but I don’t think many City fans will be to disappointed at his decision to remain at Estudiantes.

With a fully fit squad to pick from, it’s questionable whether any of these elder statesmen are better than the players we already have.

A more interesting link has been Cristian Ansaldi, the 23-year-old Argentinian left back who impressed for Rubin Kazan in the Champions League. Mancini also mentioned Inter’s left-back Cristian Chivu, but his agent has said there’s “nothing to discuss”.

Maybe Chivu is Mancini’s first choice for a new left-back, and Ansaldi is next in line if the Inter man proves unobtainable.

It’s likely that major transfers will now need to go through Brian Marwood, and what his judgement is like in the transfer market is a big unknown.

City are known to have registered interest in the young and promising centre-backs Simon Kjaer and Neven Subotic. Mancini said Kjaer is unlikely to be signed at the moment, but Subotic is getting excellent reviews in the Bundesliga and may be more like the kind of big money signing we’d hope for.

One other player we’ve been strongly linked with is 19-year-old Victor Moses of Crystal Palace. He did well against us in the Carling Cup and is likely to be moving somewhere, but is he at the level we want?

Competition for our left flank is already intense with Bellamy, Petrov and Robinho fighting it out. If any of these leave, then a move for Benfica’s Angel di Maria would be a more exciting prospect.

Of the players linked so far, I’d take Ansaldi for left-back, and either Subotic or Kjaer for centre-back, with di Maria possibly arriving in the Summer.

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