Santa Cruz helps Hughes put on brave face

City manager presents £17m striker as frustrations over Eto'o deal start to show, writes Ian Herbert

"It's really important that when you bring players into a club you know what they are like as characters and what they will bring to the group as a whole." Those were the words of Mark Hughes, the Manchester City manager, yesterday as he described the value of Roque Santa Cruz, the £17m new signing sitting to his left in a conference room inside City's stadium. If only Hughes could have said the same of Samuel Eto'o.

He was none the wiser as to whether the Cameroonian was willing to budge on his demands for a £12m cut of his transfer fee, as well as wages of up to £200,000 a week, in order to sign for City. "That has to be resolved by the player and the club he's at. Patience has been mentioned and we'll have to be patient," Hughes said. "If we get to a point where we feel things aren't going to happen and we feel the process is stalling and we can't move it forward, then that's the time we walk away and we've done that in the past."

Hughes' instincts should have told him that his patience is worth saving for worthier targets. Asked if a player moving to City should care for the mission, as well as the money on offer, Hughes related how he, aged 31 in 1995, had taken the same a leap of faith City are asking the Barcelona striker to make now – by joining a Chelsea side which had not won a trophy in 24 years. It was, Hughes said, "the chance to be part of something right from the beginning," and the FA Cup and Uefa Cup trophies Chelsea collected within three years were "something I really enjoyed".

On the field, Eto'o is a worker, just like Hughes. The problem is that he just does not seem to harbour any of the appetite for City that Hughes once had for Chelsea. The latest soundings from Spain are that he would take less than the wages City are offering to sign for Manchester United.

Santa Cruz is a different story. Such was the Paraguayan's determination to be prepared for his long-awaited move from Blackburn Rovers, where Hughes signed him from Bayern Munich two years ago, that he underwent surgery to clean loose bone from his troublesome knee in April. Some at Ewood Park were less than delighted since Rovers were deep in the throes of a relegation battle at the time. "I would have done long-term damage my knee if I'd carried on playing," Santa Cruz insisted yesterday.

The striker does not have such a high opinion of his own worth as Eto'o. Though Hughes referred to the player's time at Bayern as evidence of "a mentality to understand what it's like to be at a big club and the expectation that entails," he neglected to say that he rescued Santa Cruz from the sidelines there. Now Hughes is offering another new horizon.

Santa Cruz volunteered yesterday that Hughes does need not to sign Eto'o or Carlos Tevez to secure a top four finish in the Premier League next season. "With the players we have in the squad already the challenge will be to get in the top four anyway," he said. Hughes is not so confident of that time frame. He needs players – and Eto'o is not among them – who have the virtue of patience which he is preaching.

News
Jennifer Lawrence was among the stars allegedly hacked
peopleActress and 100 others on 'master list' after massive hack
Sport
Radamel Falcao
footballManchester United agree loan deal for Monaco striker Falcao
Sport
Louis van Gaal, Radamel Falcao, Arturo Vidal, Mats Hummels and Javier Hernandez
footballFalcao, Hernandez, Welbeck and every deal live as it happens
Sport
footballFeaturing Bart Simpson
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Voices
A man shoots at targets depicting a portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin, in a shooting range in the center of the western Ukrainian city of Lviv
voicesIt's cowardice to pretend this is anything other than an invasion
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
Arts and Entertainment
booksNovelist takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Arts and Entertainment
The eyes have it: Kate Bush
music
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor