Dietmar Hamann arrived at Manchester City yesterday in circumstances which, as U-turns go, almost surpassed the way his former team-mate Steven Gerrard decided to stay at Anfield last summer.
Hamann explained yesterday that he signed on the dotted line for Bolton Wanderers four weeks ago but then decided, on holiday, that it was a big mistake.
When his agent then indicated he was still available, City and Everton moved in for the 32-year-old German, but the aspirations of Stuart Pearce, with whom Hamann played at Newcastle United before joining Liverpool seven years ago, convinced him to settle for the City of Manchester stadium.
Hamann did not spell out what was so uninspiring about Sam Allardyce's set-up. "Maybe I signed a bit too quickly because only the day before [I signed] I [had] made the decision to leave Liverpool," he said. "Bolton let me talk to other clubs within a week and as soon as I realised that City were interested, I made my mind up fairly quickly. I can't give you too many reasons. I just thought Bolton was not the place to go. They weren't happy at the beginning, as you can expect, but after we'd talked a few times they understood my decision."
Hamann was technically a Bolton player for a month, three weeks less than David Unsworth spent at Aston Villa in 1998 before revealing that Birmingham, which he had thought was somewhere near Bolton, was too far away from his native Lancashire.
The Hamann complications created a diplomatic minefield for Pearce, who telephoned Allardyce - the man with whom he had spent most of the summer on ITV's World Cup team - to check that he could talk to Hamann.
"I said 'Sam, I've got a situation here - Didi, am I allowed to talk to him'?" said Pearce. "I have to work alongside people like Sam."
Hamann, who is a free transfer and has a two-year contract, said Pearce's outlook was attractive. "He has already given 100 per cent as a player and he gives the same commitment as a manager," he said. "I've had a chat with him and he's convinced me that it's right to come here."Reuse content