When the calendar turns to 2008, many people will be celebrating for many different reasons. It’s a safe bet that Nery Castillo will be celebrating a new opportunity, as that will be the day that the talented forward will be joining Manchester City on a one-year loan deal from Ukrainian club Shakhtar Donetsk.
On Monday, it was reported that Shahktar wanted five million euros, more than three times what City had offered for a one-year loan deal, and that any loan move wouldn’t include the option for City to buy him at the end of the deal.
However, thanks to a little help from the man himself, the deal is done. Castillo showed he must be all too happy to pack his bags for the Premier League, as he paid most of the loan fee himself, according to the report on the BBC’s official site.
Manchester City chief executive Alistair Mackintosh:
“Nery’s desire to make this deal happen was extraordinary – he has paid most of the loan fee himself. This proves how much he wants to play for Manchester City in the Premier League. We are excited and delighted that another young established international has joined the club.”
After following up an impressive domestic and European campaign in 2006-07 with Greek champions Olympiakos with a starring performance in the 2007 Copa America tournament, where he scored four goals, the 23-year old Mexican international was a target for City and Valencia in the summer, but when Shakhtar made the Greek-record 20 million euro offer to Olympiakos for his services, it was too good for his club to pass up, and on he went to Eastern Europe for what has been a disappointing stint, to say the least, as the lone deposit in his Shakhtar account is a penalty in a Champions League third qualifying round tie against Austrian side Salzburg in August.
There has been talk about attitude problems hindering his ability to settle in Ukraine, and also being a part of his past at Olympiakos, but as long as he keeps his head on straight, then he could be a definite asset to his new side.
The first few months of Sven-Goran Eriksson’s tenure in Manchester have been a huge success, as the Blues are fourth in the league, with their 33 points putting them seven behind table-topping Arsenal through 17 matches and in the thick of the hunt for their first berth in the Champions League in nearly four decades.
However, there have been issues with consistent goalscoring, and especially with getting production from the men up front. The side’s leading scorer is midfielder Elano (himself a former Shakhtar player), and the joint #2 scorer is another midfielder, Martin Petrov.
Big-money summer signing Rolando Bianchi hasn’t quite lived up to his reputation for being a prolific scorer in Serie A and with the Italian U-21 side, tallying only four goals thus far, but might finally be settling in, as two of those strikes have come in the last two league matches.
Outside of the potentially-improving Bianchi, Emile Mpenza and Georgios Samaras haven’t scored since September, and Darius Vassell only registered his first goal of the season on Saturday against Bolton, though it was an important one, as it put City up 3-2 in the 77th, on the way to a 4-2 triumph.
Having someone who’s as skilled as Castillo is, not only at finishing, but at creating chances both for himself and others, could be just the boost that City need to solidify themselves as top-four material and break their away form woes.
Castillo could have very well been a star on the red side of Manchester. In his teen years, he had a move to Manchester United all lined up, but he wasn’t able to get a work permit. He wound up going to Olympiakos, where he spent seven seasons and developed into one of Europe’s brightest talents, and the third time appears to be the charm, as he finally has his move to England.
Nery Castillo Videos
See Nery shoot. See Nery score. See Nery create. See Nery dominate:
Some repeats, but fully worth watching: