Roberto Mancini's mad trolley dash ends with second choices

 

After a summer of intense frustration, Manchester City ended the transfer window by splurging £37m in a few frantic hours.

Roberto Mancini may not have finished August with the players he wanted but the arrival of Javi Garcia, Maicon and the young Serbian centre-half Matija Nastasic will strengthen Manchester City defensively even with Nigel de Jong's departure to Milan.

In the emotional wake of City's snatching of the championship from Manchester United, there were ambitious plans to dramatically re-equip Mancini's squad for the demands of the Champions League.

However, one by one, the targets went elsewhere – Eden Hazard to Chelsea, Robin van Persie to United and Javi Martinez to Bayern Munich. Daniele De Rossi, like Francesco Totti before him, chose to see out his career with Roma.

Midway through an afternoon of faxes, emails and video clips of Maicon and Scott Sinclair greeting the City fans, Gary Neville tweeted: "What the transfer deadline gives you is a clear indication of which are the badly-run football clubs. The best clubs are the ones that get their business done before the deadline."

On that basis, Manchester City are a shambles but Mancini declared himself happy with what was a high-class trolley dash through the aisles of European football. The simmering feud with the club's football administrator, Brian Marwood, can be put to bed for a few months.

"The problem is the market," Mancini said. "The problem for Paris Saint-Germain or Manchester City is that every time you ask another club about one of its players, it starts at £20m.

"When you finish a season, you have a meeting with your club and you talk about new players but sometimes it is not possible to take the ones you want – but if I get these players, then I'll be happy."

There are no marquee signings, just some very good players at various stages of their career. The most interesting is Garcia. At 25, he is a product of the Real Madrid academy who has flourished with Benfica and will serve as a direct replacement for De Jong who with a year on his contract went to Milan for £4m.

Stefan Savic, the young Montenegro defender who never cut a convincing figure at Eastlands, will join him in Serie A at Fiorentina as a makeweight in the Nastasic deal. The Serb is only 19 but, as an indication of his quality, he already plays alongside Nemanja Vidic for his country.

At 23, Sinclair also has time on his side, although City are not thought to have increased their £6.2m offer to Swansea. At 31, Maicon, who Mancini managed at Internazionale, will need to have an immediate impact. Given the torment he endured at the hands of Gareth Bale in the Champions League two years ago, he will have noted the dates City are due to face Tottenham.

Roque Santa Cruz has exchanged one Arab-owned club for another, although when he arrives at Malaga on a season-long loan, he will find this one has largely run out of money.

City's limits

Who Manchester City wanted...

E Hazard (went to Chelsea, £32m)

J Martinez (Bayern Munich, £31.7m)

R van Persie (Man United, £24m)

D de Rossi (stayed at Roma)

...and who they got

J Garcia (Benfica, £16m)

J Rodwell (from Everton, £15m)

M Nastasic (Fiorentina, £12m)

S Sinclair (Swansea, £6.2m)

Maicon (Internazionale, £3m)

R Wright (free agent)

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