Manchester City’s new £27 million man, Edin Dzeko, wasted no time in ingratiating himself with the club’s support yesterday, with less than two minutes of his official unveiling ceremony gone before the Bosnian target man proclaimed that ‘most people from Manchester are City fans’ – a premeditated taunt that has seemingly gone down rather well with the blue-hewn Mancunian population.
Dzeko, who has been handed the No. 10 jersey last worn by wayward gadabout Robinho, went on to explain his decision to snub Europe’s established elite (AC Milan and Real Madrid have both been heavily linked to the striker) in favour of a move to nouvelle riche upstarts City:
“I saw something else in Manchester City. It’s a big club with big ambition and I’m an ambitious player and I think we can have a lot of success together.
It’s a project … it’s a very good team with a very good coach. I was very happy [at Wolfsburg] but I wanted to change, try something new and better and that’s why I’m here.”
The 24-year-old’s arrival at City (which the club have insisted will be there last for the foreseeable future, with one eye on FIFA’s imminent ‘financial fair play’ rules) has been lauded extensively by manager Roberto Mancini, who has described his new signing as the ‘one of the best strikers in Europe’ whilst sitting alongside Dzeko at the aforementioned media conference:
“I hope Edin can make the difference between second place and first. He is another good player who, in big, difficult games, can be decisive for us.
If we had had Edin against Arsenal last week (the game eventually finished 0-0), it would probably have been a different game because, with Edin, we would have had more chances to score from crosses.
This is my ideal squad at the moment. We are building a great team and we now have the best strikeforce in Europe.”
I’m sure a few strikeforces the continent over may have pricked up their ears in response to Mancini’s final utterance, though with Dzeko, Carlos Tevez, Mario Balotelli, David Silva, Adam Johnson and the twin powerhouses of Emmanuel Adebayor and Roque Santa Cruz currently at his disposal – you have to agree that the suave Italian may just have a £120 million point there.
Pound for pound, do Manchester City now have the strongest strikeforce in Europe?
Speaking of Signor Balotelli, Mancini has this morning confirmed that his £24 million protege may face as long as two further months on the sidelines, after suffering a recurrence of the knee cartilage injury that has forced the surly Italian to sit out over half of the first six months of his fledgling City career.
Balotelli underwent surgery to correct the problem, but a flare up in the scar tissue may mean that the 20-year-old may have to go under the knife for the second time in eight weeks.
So said Mancini:
“Mario’s knee is not good. Will he need surgery? I don’t know at the moment, but he what is sure is that he must rest for three to four weeks.
“It is the same knee as before and I am worried because it is a mystery. He had an operation on his meniscus [in September] but, after two months back, he has another problem with it.
I’m worried because I never expected him to have to rest for another four weeks, especially at such an important time in the season.”
The club’s medical staff have since indicated that Balotelli is almost certain to need an operation, thus ruling him out until the middle of March at the earliest.